Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "Recent history of Dighton Rock"

See other formats








tie Colonial ociet? of 






Since the publication of the earlier papers of this series, 1 two minor 
facts have come to the writer's attention that may now be added for 
completeness. Early in the nineteenth century, references to Dighton 
Rock began to appear in gazetteers. Worcester's Geographical 
Dictionary of 1817 and Morse's New Universal Gazetteer in its third 
edition of 1821 are examples. Both of them assert that no satis- 
factory explanation of the inscription has yet been given. The second 
fact demands fuller discussion. According to a writer in the Taunton 
Whig, in its issue of January 23, 1839, "in 1798, M. Adel, a young and 
learned Frenchman hunted it out, and as it was during the existence 
of the Gallo-phobia, his visit created a great excitement in the neigh- 
borhood. The late Dr. Baylies fell under considerable odium for 
harboring a Frenchman." Judging from the contents of the other 
portions of the article, it seems likely that its author may have been 
Joseph W. Moulton, joint author with Yates of a History of the 
State of New York in 1824. It is probable that both the name and 
the date as he gives them are slightly erroneous, and that he should 
have informed us that the visit was made by Citizen Adet in 1796. 

Pierre Auguste Adet was French Minister to the United States 
from 1795 to 1797. 2 He arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, from 
France on June 2, 1795. 3 Inasmuch as he was in Philadelphia by 
June 13, 4 it is not probable that his visit to Dighton occurred at that 
time. His letters from Philadelphia are almost continuous from that 
date until June 21 of the following year, 5 after which his movements 
can be traced only fragmentarily. During a portion of the summer, 
at least, he was "travelling in several States of the Union." 6 On 
August 6, 1796, he was mistakenly reported as being in Boston, but 

1 Early History of Dighton Rock, and Middle Period of Dighton Rock His- 
tory, in our Publications, xviii. 235-299, 417, xix. 46-149. In the present paper, 
references to sources are generally omitted whenever these are indicated in the 
Bibliography, pp. 438^62, below. 

2 Described in the Nouvelle Biographic Gene*rale as a chemist and "homme 
politique," born in 1763, died about 1832. 

8 Newport Mercury, June 2, 1795, p. 3/1; June 9, p. 3/2. 

4 Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1903, ii. 734. 

ii. 721-1009. 

ii. 943. 


his expected visit was prevented by sickness. 1 By September 5, he 
had been in Albany and had proceeded thence to Lake George. 2 On 
September 13 he arrived in Boston from the southward. 3 He re- 
mained there for some time, being received by Governor Adams on 
the 14th, waited on by the selectmen on the 22nd, and given a public 
dinner on the 23rd. 4 On October 3 he was again in Philadelphia, 5 
whence he sailed for France on May 6, 1797. 6 His visit to Dighton, 
if it occurred, was probably in September of 1796. He certainly had 
no later opportunity. That the Gallo-phobia mentioned by our 
informant had not at that time attained its extreme intensity is 
evidenced by the public courtesies extended to him in Albany and in 
Boston, and by his own impressions as expressed in a letter written 
by him from Boston on September 24. He remarks that although 
the merchants are ruled by fear of England, yet "as to the people, 
they appear to me to be entirely devoted to us. On my journey I 
have received from them many courtesies and marks of affection 
every time that I have been recognized. I dare believe that if it 
were necessary they would exert all their efforts to demonstrate in a 
more positive manner their attachment to the [French] republic 
and their desire to please it." 7 

With these additions, it has been possible for us, in surveying the 
earlier incidents connected with this persistent inciter to battles of 
opinion, to assemble in chronological order every incident, argument, 
and description that is now discoverable. With the vastly increased 
literature of the subject that now confronts us, such minuteness of 
detail is manifestly impossible, and the exact chronological order can 
no longer be profitably followed. Ever since Professor Rafn addressed 

1 Newport Mercury, August 9, 1796, p. 3/1; Columbian Centinel, August 6, 
p. 3/1, August 13, p. 2/4. i 

2 Newport Mercury, September 13, p. 3/3; Boston Mercury, September 13, 
p. 2/4. Cf. 1 Proceedings Massachusetts Historical Society, vii. 337. 

8 Columbian Centinel, September 14, p. 2/4; Independent Chronicle, Sep- 
tember 15, p. 2/5; Boston Gazette, September 19, p. 3/2. 

4 Independent Chronicle, September 15, p. 2/5, September 29, p. 3/1; Boston 
Mercury, September 30, p. 2/4; Boston Gazette, October 23, p. 3/2; Columbian 
Centinel, September 24, p. 3/3. 

6 Boston Mercury, October 14, p. 2/3. 

6 Annual Report of American Historical Association for 1903, ii. 1017, letters 
of May 5, 16. 

7 ii. 947. 


his circular letter to the scholars of America in 1829, asking for evi- 
dences of the reputed visits of ancient Northmen to our shores, dis- 
cussions of Dighton Rock have been exceedingly numerous. No 
single year has passed without some new printed mention of the rock, 
and in some years there have been many of them. Those known to 
the present writer within this period of ninety years now approach 
a total of four hundred. Their number and continuity are a clear 
indication of the importance attached to this monument and the 
deep interest that is still widely felt in its mystery. It has been its 
misfortune both to have been given much unmerited prominence 
through use of it as an alleged proof of important historical events, 
and likewise to have been subject to much unmerited ridicule and 
disrepute through realization of the follies of argument that it has 
incited. While endeavoring to avoid these exaggerations and to make 
our examination as calm and dispassionate as is the unmoved rock 
itself, yet it has been our constant endeavor also to accompany the 
search for historic truth with a realization of its human and psycho- 
logical features, and with an appreciation of the entire movement 
with its changing incident and its varied actors, personifiers of recur- 
ring and struggling ideas, as a drama with consistent plot and strong 
poetic appeal. It is in this spirit, with mingled historic, psychologi- 
cal, scientific, and aesthetic interests, that we continue our research. 
Most of the material can best be handled topic by topic, instead of 
year by year, as heretofore; and our first task will naturally be to 
follow the fortunes of the Norse hypothesis from its inception down 
through the entire controversy that centered around it. 


In view of the deductions which were drawn from it, apart from 
all question as to its reliability, no more important reproduction of 
the lines on Dighton Rock has ever been made than that known as 
the " Rhode Island Historical Society's Drawing." At the same time 
none has been subject to more of misunderstanding and misrepre- 
sentation. One current error of importance concerning it, originating 
in a misstatement by Rafn, is that it was made in the year 1830; and 
a second, that the drawing which has been frequently published 
under that name correctly represents what the Society's committee 
saw and drew. As a matter of fact, the drawing was not in existence 


until four years later than the date always assigned to it; and as a 
matter of fact, the genuine unaltered drawing has never heretofore 
been reproduced. 

The circumstances that led to the production of this and a com- 
panion drawing are discoverable mainly from the unpublished records 
of the Rhode Island Historical Society. 1 The fact that Charles 
Christian Rafn 2 was undertaking an ambitious reproduction and 
translation of all the Icelandic manuscripts that bear upon the Norse 
discovery of America, and wished to learn whether any remains of the 
Norsemen were discoverable anywhere on the American coast, was 
responsible for this new attempt to depict the characters on the rock. 
Rafn himself describes the earliest beginnings of the event : 

When, in the course of the year 1829, after several years of prepara- 
tion, we decided upon the approaching publication of this work, we felt 
that there were lacking various illustrations for it, to be sought in 
America itself. Accordingly we sought them from various learned 
societies of the United States of North America which presumably 
might provide and communicate them most readily and adequately. 3 

In pursuance of this purpose Rafn addressed a letter on June 15, 
1829, to the Rhode Island Historical Society. 4 Among other things, 
including mention of the runic inscription found in 1829 at latitude 73 
on the west coast of Greenland, he said: 

It is known, that the inhabitants in the North of Europe have long 
before Columbus's time visited the countries on the coasts of North 

1 These will be referred to hereafter as C, meaning the manuscript volumes 
entitled Correspondence and Reports; R, meaning the volumes entitled Records; 
and T, the Trustee's Records. References to T and R are by dates, not by 
numbered pages. 

2 Born January 16, 1795; died October 20, 1864. At his suggestion, the 
Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries was founded in Denmark about 1825. 
Rafn was its perpetual secretary, editor of most, if not all, of its publications, 
practically sole author of many of them. The society was under the patronage 
and titular presidency of Frederick VII, King of Denmark. See 1 Proceedings 
Massachusetts Historical Society, 1866, viii. 80-84, 175-201; and no. 67. 

3 No. 16, p. 355. The original is in Latin. The reference here, as in all 
footnotes similarly expressed, is to the corresponding number in the Bibliography, 
pp. 438-462, below. 

4 Now preserved in C i. 79. Some writers, including Bartlett, have asserted 
that the activity of the society in this matter was in response to a circular letter 
from Rafn to the American newspapers; but this is clearly an error. 


America. The greatest part of the informations concerning the same 
have not hitherto been published. 

At a time, when the researches about the former times of America 
have gain'd a greater interest, durst then the undertaking of bringing 
for the light these informations expect the approbation of the American 

I have now gone through all the old manuscripts belonging to the 
same, and made a complete collection of the several pieces, which illus- 
trate the knowledge, that the old Scandinavians had of America. 

The collection has been made with all the accuracy which has been 
possible for me, and I intend now to publish this collection complete 
with a Latin translation. . . . 

I have had the pleasure, that this my undertaking has met with a 
kind reception of several American learned men. I must therefore no 
longer consider about deferring of printing the work, which will at 
least take half a year. 

It would rejoice me very much, If I, before the work is ready from 
the press, might likewise hear the thoughts of your honoured Soc y 
about this my undertaking. 

It was in consequence of the receipt of this letter that the society 
thus addressed sent to Rafn a number of drawings of inscribed rocks, 
considerable accompanying information, and two new drawings pro- 
duced under its own direction. These contributions were ultimately 
responsible more than anything else for the now little credited belief 
that the Vinland and" Hop of the Northmen were on the shores of 
Narragansett Bay. The detailed course of the events may be followed 
from the records of the society. 

On December 19, 1829, the letter from Rafn was read to the trustees 
of the society, and they appointed William E. Richmond and W. R. 
Staples a committee to answer it (T). These men employed Dr. 
Thomas H. Webb, secretary of the society, to "draw up a memoir 
of the Writing Rocks in this vicinity, with a view to transmit the 
same or some parts of it to Chevalier Rafn" (R, July 19, 1830). On 
January 23, 1830, the trustees voted the sum of $18.62 for expenses in 
examining Dighton Rock, with promise of more if needed (T). In 
February the committee visited Dighton Rock. 1 It is practically 
certain that on this first visit no drawing of the rock was made. At 
any rate, the drawings subsequently made use of by Rafn were not 

i No. 16, p. 357. 


produced until more than four years later. However, other drawings 
were assembled at about this time and shortly forwarded to Rafn; 
and it is this fact, doubtless, that led to the later error, originating 
in a confusion of dates due to Rafn himself, of attributing the Rhode 
Island Historical Society's drawings to the year 1830. 

On September 10, 1830, the committee reported to the trustees 
of the society a draft of a reply to Rafn's letter; and the trustees 
"resolved that the secretary cause said answer and the accompanying 
drawings to be copied and transmitted" (T). This was done under 
date of September 22 (C i. 91; R, July 19, 1831); and the letter was 
afterward published in full by Rafn in the Antiquitates Americanae. 1 
Following is a much condensed abstract of this letter: 

In the Western parts of our Country 2 are numerous mounds, re- 
mains of fortifications, and articles of pottery, which could not have 
been produced by any of the Indian tribes; also many rocks, inscribed 
with unknown characters. The Indians were ignorant of the existence 
of these rocks. A rock, similar to these, lies in our vicinity. It is 
known as the Dighton Writing Rock. Its material is bluish gray fine 
grained grey wacke. Details of its situation and measurements are 
given. Its face is covered with unknown hieroglyphics. No one, who 
xamines attentively the workmanship, will believe it to have been 
done by the Indians. . . . Various drawings have been made of this in- 
scription, the first by Cotton Mather in 1712, others by James Win- 
throp in 1788, by Dr. Baylies and Mr. Goodwin in 1790, 3 by E. A. 
Kendall in 1807, and one recently by Job Gardner. Copies are enclosed 
of the drawing by Baylies and Goodwin and the lithograph by Gardner; 
the others are in cited publications, and are not sent. The Committee 
has also examined a manuscript letter of Ezra Stiles, describing in- 
scribed rocks at Scaticook and other places. Copious extracts are given 
from Stiles's letter, and copies of some of his drawings, (not including 
any of Dighton Rock), are enclosed. The Committee has also heard 
of inscribed rocks in Rutland and in Swanzy, Massachusetts. 4 

1 Pp. 356-361. 

2 This remark was later distorted by at least two writers (Beamish, 1841 and 
1907, and Bodfish, 1885) into the statement that the mounds and other things 
mentioned were in the western part of Bristol County, Massachusetts. 

8 Both name and date of this drawing as here given and from this source 
always subsequently known, are partially erroneous. See our Publications, 
xix. 83. 

4 The one in Swansea was never found. Concerning that at Rutland, Webb 


Apparently nothing more was heard from Rafn for several years. 
Meanwhile, on April 25, 1833, the society appointed a committee on 
the antiquities and aboriginal history of America, consisting of Dr. 
Thomas H. Webb, John R. Bartlett, and Albert G. Greene. 1 By the 
following September, the society had received a formal acknowledg- 
ment of the receipt by the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries of 
the letter and documents sent in 1830. 2 On May 23, 1834, Rafn again 
made similar acknowledgment in a letter containing a long list of 
questions and stating his confidence that he should probably succeed 
in deciphering the Dighton inscription. 3 A special meeting of the 
board of trustees was held on August 15, at which this letter was 
read; and it was voted "that said communication be referred to the 
Committee on the Antiquities and Aboriginal History of this Country, 
with full power to take such steps as they may deem expedient" (T). 
Some time between this date and the following September 27, Dighton 
Rock was twice visited, "the first time to make the necessary pre- 
paratory arrangements, and the second, to take a drawing of the 
Inscription." 4 "This Drawing," they declared, "is confidently, 
offered as a true delineation of what is now to be seen on the rock, 
altho' it will be found to differ much from every other copy that 
has come under our observation." The committee again visited 
the rock, "for the third and last time on the llth of December and 
the Society's Drawing made as perfect as circumstances would 
admit of." 5 

Meanwhile, the committee also concerned itself with formulating 
answers to Rafn's numerous queries. These asked for fuller informa- 
tion as to the rock and its environment, the nature of the bird and 
the quadruped figured upon it, the occurrence of ruins or antiquities 
near-by, 6 the occurrence of wild grapes, wild grain and ornamental 

later wrote that its alleged inscription had nothing artificial about it (No. 16 
p. 400). 

1 C ii. 54; R, July 19, 1833. 

2 T, September 3, 1833; R, July 19, 1834. 

3 C ii. 41. 

4 T, October 14, 1834; C ii. 25, 31. 
6 C ii. 30; T, January 6, 1835. 

8 The answer given was that there were none; but at a later date Webb 
called Rafn's attention to the so-called "Fall River Skeleton in Armor" and to 
the Newport tower, which were accepted by Rafn as Norse remains. 


wood, character of the climate, especially in winter, and the like. A 
draft of a reply was submitted to the trustees on October 14, 1834; 
and it was voted to forward it, together with the accompanying 
documents, and that it be signed by the president and the secretary 
of the society "for and in behalf of this board." 1 A few changes were 
subsequently made in it, and the completed document was dated 
November 30, though without altering the statement that the com- 
mittee "reported to the Board this day" that is, October 14. 2 
A second letter was also prepared and given the same date, stating 
that the committee had unsuccessfully attempted to find alleged 
inscription rocks in Swansea and Tiverton. 3 Apparently there was 
also a third letter of the same date. 4 A second report was made to 
the trustees on January 6, 1835 ; 5 a fourth letter was written on 
January 19, and then or shortly afterwards the four letters were 
forwarded to Copenhagen and received there on March 30. 6 It will 
be remembered that the drawing by Baylies and others of 1789 and 
that by Job' Gardner of 1812 had already been forwarded in 1830. 
In the parcel with these new letters of 1834-1835 were included 7 
copies of the drawings by Winthrop 1788, E. A. Kendall 1807, Sewali 
1768, and Danforth 1680; 8 a book on geology, a chart and a map, 

T, vol. i; C ii. 31. 

C ii. 33. This reply was published in full in no. 16, pp. 361-371. 

Published in part in no. 16, p. 372. 

C ii. 52; no. 483, viii. 189. 

T; C ii. 30, 34. 

See same references as for third letter. 

7 C ii. 30. 

8 The Winthrop and the Kendall were copied from the Memoirs of the Amer- 
ican Academy of Arts and Sciences and had been mentioned by Webb in his 
letter of 1830. The Sewali was especially copied for this occasion from the 
original at Harvard College (see our Publications, xix. 61 f). The Danforth 
was unknown to Webb previous to September 27, 1834 (C ii. 25), but he had 
heard of the papers in Archaeologia by Lort and Vallancey. On October 14, he 
had not yet seen Archaeologia, and hence was not yet acquainted with Danforth; 
but by November 30 he had found it, and inserted a reference to it in the re- 
vised reply to Rafn (C ii. 33). Of it he says that it "purports to be 'a faithful 
and accurate representation of the Inscription.' This is not sent with any idea 
that it will prove serviceable in your present inquiry, but simply to shew what 
strange things have been conjured up by travellers, and sent to Europe for 
examination" (no. 16, p. 371). This derogatory opinion as to the merit of 
Danforth's drawing we have already claimed is wholly unjustified (our Publica- 
tions, xviii. 254). His statement that it purports to be a faithful and accurate 


and two specimens of the rock; and in addition to these the two fol- 
lowing items, which finally prove that the true date for the society's 
own drawings is 1834, not 1830: 

Copy of R. I. Hist. Soc. Drawing of the Dighton Rock Inscription. 1 
R. I. Hist. Soc. Representation of the Rock. 2 

A letter from Rafn dated April 16, 1835, acknowledged the receipt 
of these documents and asked certain further questions about local 
names, the coasts of Rhode Island, and the occurrence of honey-dew; 3 
and on the 19th of November he made a few additional queries. 4 
At the annual meeting of the society on July 21 many of these matters 
were referred to (R). During this summer of 1835, the committee 
continued its activities, endeavoring unsuccessfully to obtain copies 
of Stiles's drawings of the Tiverton rocks; 5 seeking unsuccessfully to 
find alleged inscription rocks in Warwick on July 31 and on Gardner's 
Point on Mattapoisett Neck in Swansea on August 5; and visiting 
and delineating rocks with inscriptions at Portsmouth before July 20 
and on August 10, and at Tiverton on August 18 and 19. 6 The results 
of these investigations, accompanied by drawings of the Portsmouth 
and Tiverton rocks, were communicated to Rafn in letters dated 
September 14 7 and October 31. 8 The second of these, as preserved 

representation is also an error, rendered worse by being placed within quotation 
marks, whose only possible source must have been Vallancey's description of it 
in Archaeologia (viii. 303) -as "a fac simile copy of the inscription, taken before 
the stone was impaired or injured, exactly half a century prior to Dr. Green- 
wood's drawing." In this distorted quotation by Webb lies the source of the 
still more distorted claim by Wilson in 1862 that "Dr. Danforth executed what 
he characterized as 'a faithful and accurate representation of the inscription,'" 
and a nearly similar statement in the unpublished manuscript by the Rev. C. 
R. Hale, written in 1865 (see our Publications, xviii. 254 note). Naturally it 
was meant by its author faithfully and accurately to represent the inscription, 
and it succeeded far beyond most subsequent drawings. But Danforth never 
made any claim as to its merits, nor did Vallancey state that he had done so. 

1 Reproduced with alterations by Rafn in no. 16 as "Rhode Island Historical 
Society's 1830." 

2 Reproduced with alterations in no. 16 as "View of the Assonet Inscription 
Rock. J. R. Bartlett del." 

C ii. 52; no. 483, viii. 189. 

C ii. 45. 

C ii. 48. Apparently they never heard of his drawings of Dighton Hock. 

C ii. 40, 49, 74; no. 16, pp. 397 f. 

No. 16, pp. 397-399. 

C ii. 49; no. 16, pp. 400-404. 


in the files of the society, is a very closely written 18-page letter, 
discussing Indian names as well as the inscriptions, and only a small 
portion of it was printed in the Antiquitates Americanae. It makes 
mention also of the fact that Mr. Almy, owner of the Tiverton Rocks, 
understood Stiles in 1780 to say that there was an inscription rock 
near Mt. Hope. 1 On November 16 the committee made report to 
the trustees on its recent activities; 2 and on December 11, 1835, 
Albert G. Greene lectured before the society on the subject of ante- 
Columbian discoveries. Whether or not he made mention of these 
inscribed rocks in that connection is doubtful, for Rafn's conclusions 
on this subject were not yet published, and there is no indication 
that the latter had given any preliminary information as to their 
nature in his correspondence with the society. 3 

No further contributions on the subject were sent by the Rhode 
Island society to Denmark; but the society's records give evidence 
of an active interest in these matters that continued at least until 
1841. At each annual meeting during these six years the report of 
the board of trustees mentions a continuing correspondence with the 
Danish society. In 1836, moreover, the report includes a long dis- 
cussion on the general subject of Inscription Rocks, 4 urging further 
efforts toward their discovery, study and preservation, and expressing 
the following opinion concerning their importance: 

We are confident that these memorials have been viewed by many in a 
wrong aspect; they have been considered as naught but insignificant 
scrawls, heedlessly made, and destitute of method or design. Not so 
are they looked upon abroad. . . . Whether, however, they are monu- 
ments erected in by-gone times by some colony or wanderers from the 
Eastern Hemisphere, are the peckings of idlers, (and industrious idlers 
must they have been), the records of the red man, or what some have 
hastily though not very sagely imagined, the effects of Nature's freaks, 
they have proved extremely valuable to us, and will in future be viewed 
with an increasingly intense interest by all. . . . The Royal Society 
of Northern Antiquaries declares them of great importance in a historic 
point of view, monuments whose destruction would be an irreparable 
loss to science. 

1 This rock has subsequently been rediscovered. Its inscription is described 
and figured in no. 312, and in W. H. Munro's History of Bristol, p. 388. 

2 C ii. 74. 3 No. 483. 

4 This report was printed, and a copy is preserved in C ii. 101. 


In 1838, the society seriously considered the possibility of pur- 
chasing the Rock, as is shown by the folio whig record of July 19; 
although there is nothing further in correspondence or other records 
to show what steps, if any, were taken: 

Resolved that the secretary be directed to address a letter to the 
American Antiquarian Society, and the American Historical Society, 
urging the necessity that measures be taken by them for the preserva- 
tion of the Dighton Inscription Rock provided the same together 
with a suitable portion of the adjoining land cannot be purchased by 
the Board of Trustees for this Society. 

The last mention of Dighton Rock in the records of the society, 
so far as I have examined them, appears in the report of the trustees 
at the meeting of September 21, 1840. They speak of a letter received 
in April from Dr. Christopher Perry of Newport, saying that he had 
discovered some rocks near Newport bearing inscriptions resembling 
those on the rocks at Dighton and Portsmouth. "Since then the 
rock has been visited and examined by John R. Bartlett. The im- 
pressions were found to be very indistinct, but Mr. B. succeeded in 
making a drawing, which will be presented to the Society." 

Some further details concerning the making of the new drawings 
of 1834 can be learned from a letter written by Bartlett in 1873 to the 
librarian of the society: 

The Society . . . appointed Dr. Webb, Albert G. Greene and my- 
self, a Committee to visit the Dighton Rock. . . . We accordingly 
opened a correspondence with Captain Smith Williams, of Dighton, in 
relation to the rock, and upon the invitation of that gentleman, visited 
Dighton, and passed the night at his house. . . . Early on the follow- 
ing morning Captain Williams sent a man to the rock . . . with brooms 
and brushes to clear it of weeds and moss. . . . We crossed in a boat. 
. . . When it was completely exposed to view, Dr. Webb and Judge 
Greene traced with chalk every indentation or line that could be made 
out, while I, standing further off, made a drawing of them. ... As I 
progressed with my drawing, my companions compared every line with 
the corresponding one on the rock, to be sure that every figure was 
correctly copied, and nothing omitted. We were several hours thus 
employed and it was not until the tide had begun to flow and cover the 
rock that we desisted from our labors. . . . 

Dr. Webb and I afterwards traced several miles of the shores of 



Rhode Island in search for inscribed and sculptured rocks. We dis- 
covered several of which I took copies, and which Dr. Webb afterwards 
transmitted to Copenhagen. There was nothing remarkable in these 
sculptures, which were, doubtless, nothing but the scratches of some 
idle Indians, without any meaning. 1 

Further indications of the great care with which the Dighton Rock 
Drawing was made are given by Dr. Webb. In his letter of 1834 he 

Our Committee have taken particular pains to represent on the 
Society's Drawing all that could be satisfactorily made out upon the 
lower part of the rock. This was formerly, no doubt, well covered by 
the Inscription; but if ever as deeply engraven as the upper portion, it 
has become, through the lapse of time, and the war of the elements, so 
far obliterated, that it is utterly impossible to follow the lines. We have 
copied, with continuous lines, all that is still to be clearly ascertained, 
much of which, it will be seen, varies from every other representation, 
not even excepting Dr. Baylies'; we have also shewn, by broken or in- 
terrupted lines, certain portions which we feel considerably confident 
about, although the unaided eye would not have enabled us to copy 
them; but there is much, very much, that is beyond our power to delin- 
eate with the least degree of accuracy; all such, we have, of course, left 
unrepresented. 2 

In another letter written in 1854, Webb speaks of the importance 
of viewing the inscription at different times of day and by different 
lights, and continues : 

In the drawing transmitted to the Royal Society of Northern Anti- 
quaries portions are represented in different ways; three modes are re- 
sorted to, 3 according to the distinctness or faintness of the original; 
and much was so extremely indistinct, that we deemed it advisable to 
leave the spaces, thus conditioned, blank. What is figured was care- 
fully examined by four individuals, each inspecting for himself, and sub- 
sequently conferring with the others; and nothing was copied unless all 
agreed in relation to it. 4 

* No. 41. 

2 No. 16, p. 365. 

3 This is an error of memory. Two modes only were used, the continuous 
lines and the broken lines alluded to above. The third mode, the use of shaded 
lines, was a later addition by Rafn. 

4 No. 482. 


The accusation has sometimes been made * that the committee 
who made the drawing knew of the theory that Rafn was seeking 
to prove, and complaisantly allowed their imaginations to discover 
confirmatory letters and figures on the rock. As Webb put it, in the 
letter last quoted: "Another boldly and shamelessly asserted, that 
knowing what the Danish society wished to find there, or to make out, 
we, the suppliant tools, formed and fashioned characters accordingly." 
Such a charge is clearly baseless. It is practically certain, as already 
stated, that the committee knew nothing concerning Rafn's con- 
clusions before these were published; the above descriptions give 
evidence of the extreme care with which the drawing was made; and 
comparison of the genuine and original drawing with Rafn's repro- 
duction is sufficient to show that all of the imaginative features on 
which the Norse theory was based are due to Rafn, and not to the 
committee. The same considerations afford a sufficient answer to 
even more extravagant accusations against the Rhode Island com- 
mittee. There is no need to take them seriously. But mention of 
them adds a bit of humor in the midst of our long discussion, and 
serves to illustrate the infinite variety of opinion and controversy 
that centers about this rock. Laing put his accusation in a facetious 
form in speaking of "the ridiculous discovery of the Runic inscrip- 
tion" and of its companion in crime, the Newport mill. "Don 
Quixote himself could not have resisted such evidence of its having 
been a wind-mill. But those sly rogues of Americans dearly love 
a quiet hoax. ... It must be allowed that these Rhode Island wags 
have pulled off their joke with admirable dexterity." But Melville 
was apparently serious in claiming "this inscription has been copied 
by some designing wretch, and forwarded to ... Copenhagen, 
undoubtedly for deception;" 2 and so too was an anonymous writer 
of 1881 who, in a paper about as full-crammed with errors in state- 
ment as it could hold, remarked that " some person, in order to prac- 
tice deception, forwarded an altered copy of the inscription." 3 

On the other hand, excessive praise has sometimes been accorded 
to this drawing, as the best~and most reliable ever produced. There 
is no such thing as a "best" drawing or photograph, except such as 

1 Wilson, no. 493. Denied by A. H. Everett, no. 156. 

2 Nos. 276, 310, 355. 

No. 293. 



depict the face of the rock in its natural condition, without any inter- 
pretative preliminary tracing of its supposed lines by means of chalk 
or other substances designed to render them easier to reproduce. 1 In 
this case, the lines were chalked. 

We have seen that there were two drawings of Dighton Rock pro- 
duced by the committee of the Rhode Island Historical Society in 
1834 and forwarded to Rafn. To distinguish them, we shall here- 
after make use of Rafn's distinctive terms, referring to the one usually 
known as the "Rhode Island Historical Society's 1830" as the 
"^Drawing" of 1834; and to the other, representing the rock in its 
surroundings, as Bartlett's "View" or "Sketch" of the Rock. 

The Drawing was made sometime between August 15 and September 
27. Examination of the tide data for that year enables us to approxi- 
mate even more nearly to the exact date. There could not possibly 
have been a sufficiently long exposure of the face of the rock to permit 
of the several hours of work over it that Bartlett describes, unless at 
an exceptionally low tide. Only one such occurred between the dates 
mentioned. There were three spring tides within this period, follow- 
ing the full moon of August 19, the new moon of September 3, and 
the full of September 17. On the first and third of these occasions the 
water at low tide unless attended by unforeseeable circumstances 
which would not have influenced the choice of the day probably 
did not fall below mean low water. But at the new moon period, 
with perigee occurring on the following day, low water at Newport 
probably fell .6 foot below mean on September 3, again .6 on Septem- 
ber 4, and .7 on September 5; and there must have been an even more 
extensive fall in the Taunton River. 2 We may then conclude with 
practical certainty that we are justified in fixing the date of the Draw- 
ing as on or about September 4, 1834, with the possibility that some re- 
vision of it was made on the occasion of the final visit to the rock on 
December 11. 

1 See our Publications, xix. 87, 112. 

2 The tide tables of 1834 do not give these data. But Professor Frederick 
Slocum of Brown University, to whom I referred the problem, tells me that the 
relations of Full and New to Perigee and Apogee were nearly the same in 1913 
as in 1834. He kindly calculated the results for me, and remarks: "By analogy 
it would seem as if the tides of September 4, 1834, should have been 8 or 9 inches 
lower than the tides of August 20 or September 18. Theoretical considerations 
would lead to the same conclusions." 


The View also was doubtless sketched on one or both of these 
dates; but was probably completed at home, for some of the features 
included in it are far from being correct representations of the actual 
scene. 1 The hill shown behind the rock does not exist in that place, 
though there is a very slight rise there, and a wooded hill a consider- 
able distance further back. The peculiarly shaped boulder shown 
on its summit is not now, at least, either on top of the slight rise of 
ground near the rock or on the summit of the hill, although there is 
a delicately poised boulder, differently shaped, on the slope of the 
hill and entirely invisible from the shore. The view, then, introduces 
fanciful details and hence was probably not executed on the spot. 
Its presentation of the inscription on the face of the rock is similar 
to that of the Drawing, but is much more sketchy and was evidently 
not designed to be exact. 

Inasmuch as there developed in the course or my investigations 
reasons for believing that what purport to be reproductions of these 
two drawings in the Antiquitates Americans could not be relied upon 
to assure us what the original drawings were like, I made search for 
the latter. Unfortunately no copies of them have been preserved by 
the Rhode Island Historical Society. On writing to Denmark, how- 
ever, I discovered that the original drawings themselves are pre- 
served in the Royal Library at Copenhagen, and thus I was enabled 
to secure photographic copies of them, which are reproduced in Plates 


JLn his Antiquitates Americans, which appeared at last in 1837, 
Rafn presented nine drawings of the Dighton Rock inscription, 
besides the View of the rock, and six drawings of the Tiverton and 
Portsmouth inscriptions. Most of these were reproduced from the 
drawings sent to him by the Rhode Island Historical Society. Those 
by Mather and by Greenwood, which Webb mentioned but did not 
copy for him, he must have taken from Archaeologia; and the Dan- 
forth and Sewall he may have derived from either source. The 

1 Compare it with the Shove lithograph, Plate XXXVII. 

2 I am informed that the measurements of the originals are: of the View, 
about 9x11.4 inches (23x29 cm.); of the Drawing, about 15.3x35 inches 
(39 x 89 cm.). 


two earlier papers of this series have shown in one plate the nine 
drawings as copied by Mallery from Antiquitates Americanse; and 
in succeeding plates, more accurate reproductions of the originals of 
them all except the two of 1834. 

In presenting the two new drawings of the Rhode Island Historical 
Society, Rafn was not content merely with accurately reproducing 
them as they were sent to him. Consequently we exhibit his repro- 
ductions side by side with their originals in Plates XXXIII and 
XXXIV. In the View, 1 ' it will be seen that he has greatly embellished 
the landscape, and that also he has introduced a great deal more of 
detail in the inscription. The added details have clearly been trans- 
ferred from the other Drawing. The reproduction of the Drawing 2 
is very faithful to the original with the minor exception that the out- 
line of the rock has been copied from the View instead of from the 
original drawing, and with the further exceedingly important ex- 
ception that in certain parts of the inscription Rafn added a number 
of conjectural lines of the most essential importance for the inter- 
pretation of the inscription that he advocated. These inserted lines 
are all, with one exception, in the central portion of the inscription, 
and are as follows : the entire character, resembling a Greek Gamma, 
that precedes the three X's; the very short lower portion of the right- 
hand line of the character M in the same line; in the line below, fol- 
lowing the diamond shape, the lower half of the upright line of the 
R, all of the F except the upper half of its upright line, the entire I, 
the first upright of the misshapen N, and the two horizontal lines of 
the X; and finally, at the extreme left of the drawing, all of the P-like 
character except its dotted outlines, which by themselves alone do not 
resemble a P. Rafn believed that he was justified in supplying these 
conjectural restorations, through a comparison of the Rhode Island 
Historical Society's drawing with earlier ones, especially those of 
Kendall and of Baylies. In fact, all of his inserted lines are present 
in one or more of the earlier drawings, with the exception of those of 
the F. Here, where both of the Rhode Island drawings have allowed 
him sufficient space to insert the two characters, FI, one or the other 
of them must be taken as an absolutely unsupported conjecture on 
his part; and a careful study of the rock itself, or of the Hathaway 

1 No. 16, Tab. X. Measures about iy x 10 inches. 

2 No. 16, Tab. XII, Number IX. Measures about 5 x 11^ inches. 


photograph 1 of it, shows that there is absolutely no trace of more 
than one character in that position, and actually no room for two 
of them. By means of these amendments to the drawing, Rafn be- 
lieved that he could read the following numerals and words as part 
of the inscription: CXXXI, NAM, THORFINS. For his purpose, 
the Gamma was interpreted as a C; and the P, either the one alluded 
to above or an assumed one immediately before the O, as the Ice- 
landic V, equivalent of TH. 

On the drawing as he presented it, Rafn attempted to distinguish 
his own additions by drawing them with shaded lines. Unfortunately, 
the shadings are not very distinct, and are easily overlooked. 2 Of 
the fifteen later reproductions of this drawing known to me, six present 
it without any shading or other marks of distinction whatever, and 
few of the others copy the shaded portions in exactly the same posi- 
tions as on the original. 3 Moreover, although it may be inferred 
from his discussion of these portions of the drawing in his text, 4 Rafn 
nowhere explicitly says that the shaded lines are additions by him- 
self, but misleadingly calls the whole "The Rhode Island Historical 
Society's" drawing. As to the View, there is nothing whatever in 
text or in distinguishing marks on the drawing that could lead one 
to infer that he had greatly amplified and embellished what was sent 
to him, hence he wrongly attributes it to J. R. Bartlett as its delineator. 
As a consequence,, only the most critical readers of his text have 

* Plate XXXII. 

2 Among others, Squier called attention to this disadvantage. He saya of 
the interpolations that they are "hardly to be distinguished, by the lighter 
manner in which they are engraved, from the rest of the so-called inscription 
a circumstance which has been a fruitful source of error to superficial inquirers " 
(no. 436). It is to be noticed also that even a'photographic or a photostatic copy 
of the drawing hi the Antiquitates is very likely to blur the shaded lines so that 
they are not distinguishable from the others. 

3 The reproductions known to me are as follows: 

Of the View in whole or in part: Aall, 1838; Schoolcraft, 1839; Laing, 1844; 
Lelewel, 1852; Horsford, 1887; Winsor, 1889; no. 34. Also a painting in oil 
prepared for A. H. Everett, 1838, for which see p. 320 note 2, below. 

Of the Drawing-: Aall, 1838; Barber, 1839; Beamish, 1841; Laing, 1844; 
Hermes, 1844; Guillot, 1844; Holmberg, 1848; Schoolcraft, 1851 (in part); Gra- 
vier, 1875; Andree, 1878; Mallery, 1889; Onffroy de Thoron, 1889; Gaffarel, 
1892; Neukomm, 1896; Brittain, 1903. Note also reproduction prepared for 
A. H. Everett, 1838, for which see p. 320 note 2, below. 

4 No. 16, pp. 387 f . 


clearly realized how much of the depicted inscription was due to the 
actual observers of the rock, and how much was purely conjectural; 
and this fact has led to much misconception as to the strength of 
the argument for the Norse theory of the origin and meaning of the 
inscription. Hereafter, no one should refer to either of the two draw- 
ings in the Antiquitates Americanae as those of the Rhode Island 
Historical Society. They should evidently be known as Rafn's con- 
jectural drawings, based on a comparison of the Rhode Island draw- 
ings with those of earlier date. 

It is a curious fact that none of the originators of the drawings, so 
far as I have knowledge of their published writings and unpublished 
letters, ever disputed the correctness of the date that Rafn assigned 
to them, or the justice of calling them, exactly as they were published, 
the Rhode Island Historical Society's drawings. Webb, we have 
seen, even came to believe that the shaded lines as well as the others 
had been drawn by his committee. It has required a careful study of 
Rafn's text, a comparison of the statements of nearly all the later 
expositors of his theory, and finally an examination of the original 
records of the Rhode Island Historical Society and the securing from 
Denmark of copies of the original drawings, to make possible a presen- 
tation of the actual facts. 

The results of Rafn's studies were published in 1837 in an impressive 
volume entitled Antiquitates Americanse. A month before it ap- 
peared, however, a brief hint concerning his conclusions about Dighton 
Rock had already been given. The periodical called Dansk Kunstblad 
in its issue of March 17 reproduced Kendall's drawing of the rock, 
and remarked: "A rock found in Massachusetts, which is covered 
with numerous hieroglyphics and sundry characters of Runic appear- 
ance, will, if correctly delineated, furnish to our antiquaries unlocked 
for elucidations of the olden tune of America, and of its indisputable 
connexion with the old world in times that are long since passed 
away." 1 


Whatever may be said of the success of the attempt to connect 
Dighton Rock with the visits of the Northmen to America, and 

1 This is quoted from a letter from M. Weslauff, President of the Royal So- 
ciety of Northern Antiquaries, who speaks of the rock as "a very important 
monument" (no. 485). 


through it or otherwise to identify localities connected with their dis- 
coveries, the service rendered by the publication of the Antiquitates 
Americanse was a memorable one. The book is a quarto volume of 
526 pages, illustrated by facsimiles of some of the ancient manuscripts, 
by maps and charts, and by six engravings of Greenland and American 
monuments. The body of the work contains an Introduction written 
in Danish and Latin; a Conspectus of the eighteen manuscripts pre- 
sented; a twelve page essay written in English entitled "America 
Discovered by the Scandanavians in the Tenth Century. An Ab- 
stract of the Historical Evidence Contained in this Work; " the original 
text of each of the Icelandic manuscripts with a Danish translation 
in parallel columns and a Latin translation subjoined; lengthy dis- 
cussions in Latin of monuments found in Greenland and America; 
and finally, geographical annotations in Latin, and indexes. 

In order to appreciate satisfactorily the setting into which the 
theory of Dighton Rock was fitted, it is necessary to review briefly 
the story given in the Historical Abstract. Eric the Red settled in 
Greenland in the spring of 986. Later in the same year, Biarne 
Heriulfson, attempting to join Eric's colony, was driven out of his 
course and saw strange lands of three typically different characters, 
but did not go on shore. In 1000, Leif, son of Eric, set forth to dis- 
cover Biarne's new lands. The first that he found he called Helluland 
(identified by Rafn with Newfoundland), the second, Markland 
(Nova Scotia), and the third Vinland, because of the wild grapes 
found there (vicinity of Cape Cod and Nantucket). Here he erected 
large houses, afterwards called Leifsbooths (in Mount Hope Bay), 
and wintered. Thorwald, Leif s brother, sailed in 1002, and passed 
two winters at Leifsbooths. He explored the country to the south, 
and gave the name Kialarnes to a prominent headland (Cape Cod). 
He was killed in a contest with Skrellings, and was buried at Krossanes 
(Gurnet Point). His companions wintered once more at Leifsbooths. 
In 1005, Thorstein, another son of Eric, made an unsuccessful voyage. 
Thorfinn Karlsefne, a wealthy and powerful man of illustrious lineage, 
went from Iceland to Greenland in 1006, accompanied by Snorre 
Thorbrandson, Biarne Grimolfson, and Thorhall Gamlason. Thor- 
finn married Gudrida, widow of Thorstein. In the spring of 1007 he 
set sail in three ships with his wife and companions, together also 
with Thorward and his wife Freydisa, daughter of Eric, and another 


man named Thorhall. They had with them 160 men and much 
livestock, intending to establish a colony. They found all the places 
already named, and gave names also to Furdustrandir (Wonder 
strands; the long sandy stretches of Cape Cod), Straumey (Stream 
Isle; Martha's Vineyard), and Straumfiordr (Streamfirth; Buzzards 
Bay). At the latter place they landed and wintered. Thorhall with 
eight men left them. The others sailed southwards and arrived at 
Hop (Mount Hope Bay), where they found wild wheat and vines. 
They saw natives, erected dwelling houses a little above the bay, 
and wintered there. No snow fell. In the spring of 1008 (1009?) 
they traded with the natives, who were frightened away by the loud 
bellowing of a bull. About this time Gudrida gave birth to a son, who 
was named Snorre. Early next winter they were attacked by the 
Skrellings, but repulsed them after a severe conflict. In consequence 
of the hostility of the natives, they left Hop, and after some further 
exploration they spent the third (fourth?) winter at Streamfirth, and 
returned in 1011 to Greenland. 1 In 1012-13 another expedition to 
Leifsbooths was made under the leadership of Freydisa. Later voy- 
ages also occurred, ending with one to Markland in 1347. 


Rafn supported his identifications of localities by arguments 
drawn from geographical and nautical descriptions, by statements 
concerning climate and soil, produce and natural history, and by an 
observation seeming to determine the length of day and hence the 
latitude. But the most conclusive evidence that the Hop of the North- 
men was situated at the head of Narragansett Bay, he believed, is 
furnished by the inscription on Dighton Rock. Apparently before 
he had received the new drawing of 1834, Rafn submitted some or all 
of the earlier drawings to Finn Magnusen 2 for his opinion of them. 

1 The text is not explicit as to how many winters were spent in each place. 
It does state that the return to Greenland was in 1011, and that Snorre was then 
three years old. It would seem that, in order to make the narrative consistent, 
the corrections given in parentheses above must be made to the statements of 
the text. 

2 Magnusen is called by Rafn an expert in Runic inscriptions. But his ex- 
pertness has been called hi question. Rau (no. 370) tells of the instance of the 
Runamo rock in Sweden, which in 1833 was visited by a committee of the Royal 
Danish Academy of Sciences, including Magnusen. In 1841 Magnusen pub- 


Magnusen's report, based wholly on the Baylies drawing of 1789, 
was as follows: 

I am glad to say that I support unhesitatingly your opinion as to the 
inscription and figures on the Assonet rock. I believe there is no doubt 
that they are Icelandic and due to Thorfinn Karlsefne. The Icelandic 
letter p, near the prow of a ship, at the spectator's left, shows this at 
first glance, as do also the principal configurations cut in the rock. 
Several other considerations support this belief. ... I. The numeral 
characters CXXXI exactly correspond to the number of Thorfinn's 
men; for these were CXL, of whom nine under Thorhall left him at 
Straumfirth. With the rest he went to Hop. Under the numeral char- 
acters appears the combination H Y, consisting of two letters, a Latino- 
gothic N and a runic M, 1 standing for norraenir (north) and menn or medr 
(men). Between them is a ship divested of masts, sails and ropes, in- 
dicating that these men came to this land in the ship but later left it 
after removing its masts, sails and ropes, and erected fixed habitations 
on the land occupied by them. The whole phrase means: CXXXI 
North-European seamen. 

II. Following the numerals CXXXI is a Latino-gothic character re- 
sembling an M, the right-hand half of which has a crossline making it, 
taken by itself, an A. This is a monogrammatic combination standing 
for NAM, equivalent to land-nam. Underneath it is a diamond shaped 
O followed by an R. This OR is an ancient Scandinavian form for 
modern Icelandic and Danish vor, in English our. Nam or signifies 
" territory occupied by us," or " our colonies." III. In the highest 

lished an illustrated quarto work of 742 pages, the principal feature of which 
was his translation of the marks on Runamo Rock. He made out a runic in- 
scription of thirteen lines. In 1842 and 1844, the rock was visited by J. J. A. 
Worsaae, who reported "that there is no runic inscription whatever on Runamo 
Rock, and that the marks considered as runes by Finn Magnusen are simply 
the natural cracks on the decayed surface of a trap dike filling up a rent in a 
granite formation." Rau regards the. arguments of Worsaae as absolutely con- 
vincing. At any rate, it is not difficult to believe the story, after one haa ex- 
amined Magnusen's methods in dealing with Dighton Rock. 

1 The former shaped like a lower-case n, the latter somewhat like a trident. 
They are easily found on the Baylies drawing in the position indicated. Mag- 
nusen's exposition can be followed best by reference to Plate XXVI (our Publi- 
cations, xix. 106), whose lower drawing is the one used by Magnusen. Plate 
XXXV (p. 316, below) is a fair substitute, although most of the figures referred 
to are shown in rather faint dots. Number 23 on that plate is the N, number 
21 the M, and between them the mastless ship. The original text uses special 
forms for the letters C. M, N, and O. differing somewhat from those here 


part of the configuration, above the portions just discussed, is a rather 
artificial figure 1 representing in our opinion a great shield provided with 
a singular foot resembling a fish-tail. This shield, together with the 
adjacent inverted helmet, I accept as symbols of the peaceful occupation 
of this land. IV. This occupation, or the cultivation of the land or 
development of the colony, is further indicated by a very crude figure 
cut in the rock underneath the n of norraenir, if this, as we conjecture, 
represents a heifer lying down or at rest. At the time of the first occu- 
pation of Iceland, the ground covered by a heifer in its wanderings 
during a summer's day customarily determined the extent of the land 
to be occupied. V. I believe that the configuration as a whole pre- 
sents to the spectator this scene: the famous ship of Thorfinn Karlsefne 
as it first set out for Vinland and came to this shore, with a wind- vane 2 
attached to the mast. His wife Gudrida, seated on the shore, holds in 
her hand the key of the conjugal dwelling, at that time, as is evident, 
long previously constructed. 3 Beside her stands their three year old 
son, Snorro, born in America. Thorfinn's CXXXI companions were 
then occupying Vinland, and had declared it to be their own possession, 
thus occupied. One of their ships in which they had come, is repre- 
sented fixed to the shore, for this reason despoiled of its sails. 4 A cock 5 
announces by his crowing domestic peace, as do also the shield at rest 
and the inverted helmet. Then suddenly approaching war is indicated. 
Thorfinn, 6 leader of the colonists, is seated, enjoying rest; but he seizes 
his shield 7 and endeavors to protect himself against the approaching 
Skrellings, 8 who violently assail the Scandinavians, armed with clubs 

1 The combination of figures, largely triangular, whose centre lies above the 
MA monogram. It is number 3 in Plate XXXV. The helmet next spoken of is 
number 8 lying to the right of the MA monogram. The heifer is number 22. 

2 Ventilogium. This is a word that is not often correctly translated. It is 
not given hi most Latin dictionaries; but may be found in Du Cange's Glossa- 
rium, 1846. The ship here mentioned demands a complaisant imagination for 
its recognition in the jumble of lines between the P at the extreme left of the 
drawing and the first human figure. It is number 40 on Plate XXXV. 

s The key is easily identified inside the drawing representing Gudrida, 'the 
large human figure at the left. 

4 This ship is the one mentioned under I, between the N and the runic M. 

5 This is of course the figure of the bird, at the middle bottom of the drawing; 
number 14. 

8 The apparently human figure just to the right of the central part of the 
drawing; number 25. 

7 Thorfinn's shield is the series of lines, to the right of Thorfinn, shaped like 
an hour-glass at the top, thence curving down to a small triangle near the bottom 
of the human figure; number 10. 

8 The two human figures at the right; numbers 26, 27. 


or branches, with bow and arrows, and furthermore with a military 
machine, unknown to us, which in Thorfinn's history is called a ballista, 
from which are thrown, besides missiles and large rocks with ropes at- 
tached, as is seen, also a huge ball, which fact is testified to in express 
words in the same history. 1 VI. Certain other features of the in- 
scription, ropes and runic enigmas, must be left unexplained. 2 

Rafn devotes 42 pages of the Antiquitates Americanae 3 to his own 
discussion of Dighton Rock. First he reproduces the letters which he 
had received from the Rhode Island Historical Society, then quotes 
the accounts of the rock that had been published by Lort, by Warden, 
and by Vallancey. 4 Since his time these sources have been accepted 
as the basis of nearly all accounts of the earlier history of investiga- 
tion of this subject; but how Inadequate this account is both in ac- 
curacy and in completeness has been shown constantly in the course 
of our own investigation. Rafn then announces: "We 'are of the 
opinion that the inscription is due to the Icelanders. Finn Magnusen, 
an expert in Runic inscriptions, whose opinion we consulted, sup- 
ports us." 5 Magnusen's interpretation is presented, the nine copies 
of the inscription known to Rafn are enumerated, and finally he 
reviews the opinions of Magnusen and adds corrections and amplifi- 
cations of his own. Concerning the numeral characters CXXXI in 
division I, it will be noticed that Magnusen left them without stating 
their equivalence in Arabic numerals. Rafn expresses the belief that 
the C stands for the Icelandic "great hundred," which is ten dozen 
instead of ten tens. Hence the whole signifies not 131 but 151, the 
true number of Thorfinn's men after ThorhalTs nine had left. The 
Gothic N and Runic M with a dismasted ship between them are to 
be regarded as less certain, since they are to be found on the Baylies 
drawing only. Nevertheless, Magnusen's explanation of them fits 

1 All the implements of war here enumerated can be sufficiently well made 
out by an active imagination between the shield and the Skrellings. Numerous 
bows can be imagined, as to the right of 26 at his feet, to the left of 26 above 31, 
above the head of 26, and at 32. 34 is an arrow. Other lines leftward of 26, 
also 28, 29, 30, 35 must be the clubs and branches, and the stones with ropes at- 
tached. The huge ball resting in the ballista is probably number 31. 

2 No. 16, pp. 378-382. Here translated with some condensation from the 
original Latin. 

3 Pp. 355-396. 

4 In a footnote on p. 390 he also mentions Gebelin's interpretation. 
6 P. 378. 

(/) o 

~ o 

s ' 

O " 



in so well with the numerals, that their real existence at least for- 
merly is of the highest degree of probability. Under II the NAM is 
accepted. But instead of OR Rafn finds in the Rhode Island draw- 
ing, supported in part by Kendall, as we have already seen, the 
fuller ORFINS. 

In front of these six letters Greenwood's picture places a curved line, 
which is seen also, among others, even in Mather's earlier drawing. We 
are not very rash in suspecting this stroke to belong to the letter ]> with 
its first upright line now exceedingly worn or even wholly invisible. If 
therefore we accept this letter as having been expressed in this place, 
or even recognize as a p that letter which, though not a little distant l 
from the succeeding letters, is yet visible in the Rhode Island Society's 
drawing and is plainly and accurately delineated in the Baylies draw- 
ing at the first of the representations of a ship, then there results, ac- 
cording to the greatest probabilities, this reading for the two lines of 
the inscription, disregarding the numeral characters: 


The whole inscription, therefore, reads: "Thorfmn and his 151 com- 
panions took possession of this land." 

In III, Rafn accepts the interpretation of the figure as a shield, 
and describes the ancient shields, of which this is a true representa- 
tion. The figure of a heifer in IV, given in the Baylies and in some 
part also in the Rhode Island drawing, is very different in Winthrop. 
Its interpretation is subject to doubt, but yet sufficiently probable. 
Rafn continues: 

V. The principal scenes of this representation correspond so perfectly 
with the accounts in the old Icelandic writings that this historical in- 
terpretation of their meaning is hardly to be regarded as rash or erro- 
neous. The arrival of the Scandinavians in Vinland, their occupation 
of the land and even their encounter with the Skrellings, are here easily 
recognized. The figure of a man standing in the middle is given in the 
Baylies but is lacking in the more recent drawings, and hence is some- 
what doubtful. Unless this figure was once there and has since been 
destroyed by erosion, then the human figure next to the ship 2 ought to 
represent the leader of the expedition. At his side the best drawings 
show the figure of a child, which probably indicates Snorre. ... In 

1 The actual distance is nearly five feet on the rock. 
8 The one that Magnusen called Gudrida. 


my opinion this assumption is proven by the fact that at his right side 
the Rhode Island drawing places the Runic letter S, 1 initial of his 
name. The animal, placed under the upright shield in most drawings, 
is represented as having horns. We take it to represent the bull which 
is mentioned in Thorfinn's history. 

The figures at the right, Rafn thinks, are very probably Eskimos with 
their weapons: stretched bow, ball flying through the air with rope 
attached, arrow-head, and finally a projected stone dashed against 
the upper margin of the shield. VI. The rest is too doubtful for 
correct interpretation, though, as Magnusen says, there are resem- 
blances to runic letters. VII. Other examples of inscriptions are 
cited in support of the theory here advocated. 

Following this account of the Assonet inscription is given a descrip- 
tion of the inscriptions at Portsmouth and Tiverton in Rhode Island. 2 
These, according to Rafn, confirm his opinion as to Dighton Rock. 
We can see in them certain runic letters of undoubtedly Scandina- 
vian origin, eight of which are specifically mentioned. Finn Magnusen 
agrees that runic letters occur in the drawings, some of which have a 
genuine significance. He finds, for example, the runes standing for 
the letters L and T, and says of them: "We assume that Leif and 
Tyrker wished to indicate thus their names by their initial letters." 
Other composite characters occur that are to be taken as mono- 
grams. He thus discovers the names An and Aki, and assumes that 
men of these names accompanied Thorfinn. 

No shore to which the Northmen came 
But kept some token of their fame; 
On the rough surface of a rock, 
Unmoved by time or tempest's shock, 
In Runic letters, Thorwald drew 
A record of his gallant crew; 
And these rude letters still are shown 
Deep chiseled in the flinty stone. 3 


Although not including quite all the detail given it by Rafn, yet 
the foregoing presents fairly the evidence offered in the Antiquitates 

1 An upright line terminating above in a dot. 

2 No. 16, pp. 396-405. 

P. C. Sinding, nos. 417, 418. 


Americanse for the famous Norse theory of the inscription on Dighton 
Rock. Reserving for a moment the question as to the presence 
there of the name Thorfinn, it. is clearly evident that all the rest of 
the alleged translation is pure romancing, on an exact par with the 
detailed readings of Gebelin, of Hill, and of Dammartin. The reader 
who has followed the changing phases of depiction and interpreta- 
tion of the inscription thus far must realize that it is easy to imagine 
as present on the rock almost any desired letter of the alphabet, 
especially of crude or early forms; and that, starting with almost any 
favored story, he can discover for it, if he looks for them eagerly 
enough, illustrative images to fit its various features, and initial 
letters or even entire words or names. Later examples will give even 
stronger confirmation of this fact. 

Aside from an undoubted fascination in the thought of the bold 
Norsemen sailing without compass the stormy seas and discovering 
and colonizing these shores so long a time before Columbus, the one 
thing that has led to so confident, widespread and prolonged accep- 
tance of Rafn's views concerning Dighton Rock has probably been 
the apparently clear presence of the name of Thorfinn on the rock. 
It is undeniably there, plainly visible to everyone, in Raf n's seemingly 
scholarly compilation of the different extant drawings, published in 
an impressive volume issued by a highly reputable learned society. 
It is hardly a matter for wonder that so many persons have seen no 
reason to doubt the reliability of the depiction. But if this one word 
can be shown to be doubtful, or indubitably not there, then the whole 
fabric of Rafn's and Magnusen's ingenious readings falls with it and 
then* translation of the rock's inscription becomes as much a fairy 
tale as are its earlier and later rivals. 

Is there, then, any possibility that the name Thorfinn was cut 
upon Dighton Rock? We can answer with entire confidence that 
there is not. A number of distinct arguments may be cited, each one 
of them wholly convincing. (1) Examination of all of the discover- 
able drawings and photographs shows that not one of them contains 
the name. To repeat a statement made in an earlier paper, 1 of thirty 
attempts known to me to depict this portion of the inscription, about 
85 per cent exhibit the diamond shape that Rafn called an O; only 2 
show an R, 3 others something similar, all the rest nothing like it; 

1 Our Publications, xix. 115. 


in the position where Rafn placed FI, no one has anything like an 
F, 14 have an 1, 10 others some other character, and 6 have nothing; 
next beyond, Kendall presents a misshapen N, and all the rest some 
shape that has no 'resemblance to it; in the final place, all but one 
give an X. Opinion is almost unanimous that there is nothing there 
that at all resembles ThORFINS. (2) If the name were actually 
there, or ever had been, later careful examinations of the rock, often 
by persons eager to verify Rafn's views, should have shown some 
confirmation of its presence. Of reproductions since 1837, there are 
eighteen. All of them have the diamond shape, usually with a verti- 
cal attachment below; not one has R, and only one anything resem- 
bling it; not one gives two characters in the FI position, and only 
about half of them draw the single character there as an I; not one 
finds anything like an N, unless we except the single case where a 
complex character occurs within which an N could be separated out; 
all give X, and without horizontal lines either above or below except 
in two cases. Thus all attempts to confirm Rafn's guess have served 
only to prove it incorrect. (3) Anyone may now prove the matter 
for himself as completely as if he were to visit the rock and examine 
it under favorable conditions of light and tide. Study of the Hatha- 
way photograph l is for this purpose superior to direct examination 
of the rock, for it shows the smallest details of texture of the surface 
with almost ideal clearness, and can be examined at leisure and in 
comfort conditions that the rock itself rarely offers. The result 
of such study must be the conviction that between the reputed R 
and N there is not room for two characters unless the R is unduly 
narrowed, and no trace of more than one; and that although the 
actual lines are often doubtful yet the conjectural additions made by 
Rafn are wholly imaginary, corresponding to no actual markings on 
the rock. 2 

1 Plate XXXII. 

2 I do not wish to deny that the picture-completing apperceptive process 
may construct almost anything it seeks to find in the complex and innumerable 
details of texture and light reflections of the surface. In that manner I can 
myself see, though rather ill-proportioned, the whole name Thorfinn there, if 
I wish to relax into the seeing of dreamlike unrealities. And of course in like 
manner I can see numerous alternatives with equal ease. But critical examina- 
tion does not justify the assumption of the actual existence of such subjectively 
originating lines. 


At a later date Rafn added to his "proofs" of the location of 
Vinland in the region of Narragansett Bay two other objects which 
played a prominent part in subsequent discussions. One of these 
was the Stone Tower or Old Mill at Newport. 1 There are very few 
people now who doubt that this structure is identical with that men- 
tioned by Governor Benedict Arnold in his will of 1677 as "my Stone 
built Wind Mill," and that it was erected not more than two years 
earlier on the model of one in England with which Arnold must have 
been familiar in his boyhood. The facts leading to this conclusion 
were first announced by Melville and Brooks, made widely known 
by Palfrey, and corroborated by Mason's expert examination of the 
architectural evidence. 2 The other apparent relic of the Northmen 
was the famous "Skeleton in armor" celebrated by Longfellow, 
discovered in Fall River in 183 1. 3 The only foundation for its short- 
lived acceptance as evidence in favor of Rafn's views lay in the fact 
that there were found with it a brass breast-plate and a belt made of 
brass tubes. The argument lost its force when other skeletons simi- 
larly equipped were found, 4 when it became known that the Indians 
were abundantly provided with similar metallic articles when the 
white men first came into contact with them, 5 and when it was realized 
that the brass of this particular armor might well have been secured 
by Indians from early traders or colonists. 6 

In justice to the men most prominently responsible for introduc- 
ing Dighton Rock and these two companions into the story of Norse 
discoveries, a word should be said as to their later expression of views. 
Already in 1838, Rafn referred to the evidence given in Antiquitates 
Americans merely as "hints," and said that the matter would con- 
tinue to form a subject for accurate investigation. In a letter of 
January 4, 1848, to David Melville of Newport he said that these 

1 M&noires de la Societe" Royale des Antiquaires du Nord, 1836-1839, pp. 
361-385. Letters of Webb (1839) to Rafn (pp. 361-368), with Rafn's remarks 
(pp. 369-385), reprinted in Supplement to the Antiquitates Americanse, 1841. 

2 G. C. Mason, Jr., Old Stone Mill at Newport, in Magazine of American 
History, 1879, iii. 541-549. 

3 Memoires de la Socie'te' Royale des Antiquaires du Nord, 1840-1844, pp. 

4 Ibid. pp. 110, 118. See also no. 209. 

6 See Winship's Sailors' Narratives of Voyages along the New England Coast, 
1524-1624 (1905), pp. 15, 43 f, 56. 

8 20th Annual Report of the Peabody Museum, 1880-1886, iii. 543 f . 


monuments " unquestionably merit the attention of the investigator, 
but we must be cautious in regard to the inferences to be drawn from 
them." Yet his letters to Nils Arnzen between 1859 and 1861, in 
which he approves of a project to remove Dighton Rock to Denmark, 
$how that he still regards it as of "high and pressing importance." 
The Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, however, eventually 
abandoned all belief in the value of the rock as evidence, as is shown 
by a letter of February 22, 1877, addressed to Arnzen, signed by 
four officials in behalf of the government of the society, and by a 
letter of November 1, 1878, from the Society's vice-president, J. J. A. 
Worsaae, to Charles Rau. The official letter to Arnzen says: "The 
Society must confess that the inscribed figures on the Rock have, 
according to the later investigations, no connection with the North- 
men's journeys of discovery or sojourn in America, but rather that 
it is the work of the original races of Indians." Bartlett, in 1846, 
expressed his belief that no alphabetic characters had been satis- 
factorily identified on Dighton Rock; and many years later he 
wrote: "I never believed that it was the work of the Northmen or 
of any other foreign visitors. My impression was, and is still, that 
it was the work of our own Indians. . . . Nor do I concur ... in 
the belief that it was intended as a record of any kind." Webb 
apparently clung persistently to the belief that the inscription was 
Norse, yet conceded that it might be otherwise: "If its anti-Runic 
character should be satisfactorily shown," and "allowing it to be an 
Indian Monument, it should be none the less highly prized and care- 
fully preserved." 2 

It is now generally conceded by everyone whose opinion is of value 
that no material remains of the Norse visits to America have ever 
been discovered. The nearest indubitable one is that found in 1824 
at Kingiktorsoak on the east shore of Baffin Bay. Perhaps we ought 
to except the so-called Kensington Stone in Minnesota, which has an 
inscription in characters which are undoubtedly runic, but whose 
authenticity is still in question. 3 It may be that this will turn out to 
be, so far as its connection with Northmen is concerned, in the same 
class as the hoax of Potomac, the fraudulent or at least dubious stone 

1 Nos. 39, 41. 

2 No. 482. 

8 See Minnesota Historical Society's Collections, 1915, xv. 221-286. 


of Grave Creek, and the natural markings or Indian picture-writings 
of Monhegan, Yarmouth, and other places whose "inscribed stones" 
have been attributed from time to time to the discoverers of Vinland. 1 
Other remains of old tunes besides inscriptions, the best known of 
which are those of Hdrsford's Norumbega near Boston, likewise lack 
proof of any association with these explorers from Iceland and Green- 
land. The whole matter is well summed up by Babcock: 

So far as investigation has gone, there is not a single known record or 
relic of Wineland, Markland, Helluland, or any Norse or Icelandic voyage 
of discovery, extant at this time on American soil, which may be relied 
on with any confidence. There are inscriptions, but apparently Indians 
made them all except the freakish work of white men in our own time; 
there are games, traditional stories, musical compositions, weapons, 
utensils, remnants of rude architecture, and residua of past engineering 
work, but no link necessarily connects them with the period of Ice- 
landic exploration or with the Norse race. One and all they may per- 
fectly well be of some other origin Indian, Basque, Breton, Norman, 
Dutch, Portuguese, French, Spanish, or English. Too many natives 
were on the ground, and too many different European peoples, who 
were not Scandinavians, came here between 1497 and 1620 for us to 
accept anything as belonging to or left by a Norse Wineland, without 
unimpeachable proof. 


But the absence of still existent monuments does not in the least 
degree invalidate the main story of the sagas. John Fiske rightly 
said: "The only discredit which has been thrown upon the story of 
the Vinland voyages, in the eyes either of scholars or of the general 
public has arisen from the eager credulity with which ingenious 
antiquarians have now and then tried to prove more than facts will 
warrant." We can cheerfully reject this theory about the rock whose 
complicated history, more remarkable than the rock itself, we are 
studying. But it is impossible to have searched minutely for all 
discoverable discussions of the rock without having read much about 
the voyages to Vinland and Hop, and wondering where after all these 
places may have been. Our researches, centered on an entirely dif- 

1 The evidence for all here mentioned is examined, apparently authoritatively, 
in no. 471. See also no. 496. 


f erent though interweaving question, have not rendered us competent 
to utter an expert opinion in this matter; but they have made it possi- 
ble to say a brief word concerning the opinions expressed by others. 
For fifty years after the appearance of Antiquitates Americans, 
opinion was almost equally divided between the followers and the 
opponents of Rafn's views. Out of more than a hundred persons who 
wrote on the subject, and whom I have consulted in order to obtain a 
well-founded idea as to how the Dighton Rock story was greeted, 
about 46 per cent were confident that he had solved the problem 
correctly, while 11 per cent more accepted his localities without 
sharing his deductions concerning Dighton Rock. Among them all, 
however, there was hardly another one who supported the opinion 
so long defended by Bancroft, that the sagas gave no assurance that 
the Northmen ever discovered the continent of America. If we 
accept the almost unquestioned belief that they did land somewhere 
on American shores, the most helpful indications as to how far south 
they penetrated are furnished by vague sailing directions, a crude 
observation as to the length of day, and statements concerning useful 
plants that they found. As to the latter, so long as it was believed 
that their vinber were grapes, their self-sown hveiti Indian corn, and 
their mosur wood, maple or the like, the probabilities seemed to most 
critical students strongly in favor of New England. But in 1887 
there appeared two* books which ultimately were strongly influential 
in altering the reading of the evidence. Gustav Storm 1 showed that 
neither the distribution of the grape, nor the identification of the 
other plants, nor calculations as to length of day, nor any other 
observations made in the sagas, compel a belief that Vinland lay 
farther south than about 49 north latitude, and that it certainly 
could not be farther north. Nova Scotia seemed to him its most 
probable location. In the same year Garrick Mallery, by publication 
of his Pictographs of the North American Indians, greatly extended 
an already considerable knowledge of the extent to which the Indians, 
throughout widely separated areas, had made pictures and markings 
upon rocks, in many cases not unsimilar to the "hieroglyphs'* on 
Dighton Rock, and thus furnished stronger foundation than had 
before existed for the contention that the latter need be ascribed to no 

1 Studien over Vinlandsreiserne, published in English in Me*moires de la 
Socie"te* Royale des Antiquaires du Nord, 1888, pp. 307-370. 

CO i 

- I 

u. < 

O * 

</> o 

- o; 
u z 


* i 

^ i 


other source. Doubtless also Justin Winsor's critical study of the 
literature of pre-Columbian explorations contributed largely to the 
decisive rejection of a New England Vinland. The influence of these 
writings, naturally, only slowly became evident in the literature of 
the Norse voyages. Of about thirty discussions in my list between 
1887 and 1900, we find that between forty and fifty per cent are still 
expounding Rafn's views. But since 1900 there has been a marked 
change. Of thirty references to the subject that we find recorded in 
our notes, only four very minor and negligible ones admit the possi- 
bility that Dighton Rock may have been a Norse record; only three 
others, without accepting the rock, believe that Vinland lay so far 
south. The remainder, nearly eighty per cent of all, either place 
Vinland farther north or make no attempt to determine its exact 
location. The most important recent contributions may well re- 
ceive a moment's notice. In 1910, Fernald contended that mnber was 
probably mountain cranberry (Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea) , hveiti the 
strand wheat (Elymus arenarius), and mosur the canoe birch (Betula 
alba), and hence that Vinland was probably in Labrador or along the 
Lower St. Lawrence River. 1 Babcock, examining evidence that the 
coast of New England has steadily subsided since glacial times and 
deducing the changes in coastal scenery that must have occurred 
since the year 1000, believes that "thus far no other Hop has been 
suggested which seems more plausible than Mount Hope Bay," but 
that Leif's booths were in southeastern Massachusetts. Hovgaard, 
once Commander in the Royal Danish Navy, comes to the conclusion 
that Leif reached Cape Cod, but that Thorfinn sailed no farther 
south than Newfoundland. Both Babcock and Hovgaard reject 
Fernald's interpretation of mnber, believing that it means grapes. 
Yet comparatively few others among recent authorities locate Vinland 
or any part of it farther south than Nova Scotia. The latest book 
of all on the subject, whose argument cannot henceforward be over- 
looked, is by Dr. Andrew Fossum of Park Region Luther College 
in Minnesota. Instead of rejecting one or the other of the two partly 
conflicting sagas of the Vinland voyage, as most writers do, he 
contends that each of them in its main features is authentic, the one 
as correctly relating the adventures of the family of Eric, the other 

1 M. L. Fernald, Notes on the plants of Wineland the Good, in Rhodora, 
xii. 17-38. 


those of Thorfinn. Then, making a minute study of sailing directions 
and descriptions of scenery, and believing that other indications are 
in accord with his results, he seems to establish conclusively the fact 
that Leif's Vinland and Thorfinn's Hop were different regions, and 
very plausibly locates the former on the Lower St. Lawrence River 
and the latter somewhere on the east coast of Newfoundland. 


Accustomed as we now are to accepting the fact that not only 
the Northmen, but perhaps voyagers on many other unprovable oc- 
casions saw the shores of America before Columbus did, it is hard to 
realize what a tremendous impression was made by the appearance 
of the Antiquitates Americanse. Edward Everett wrote, immediately 
on receiving it: "This is a work of great interest. It has long been 
expected with impatience." 1 Higginson tells us: "I can well re- 
member, as a boy, the excitement produced among the Harvard pro- 
fessors when the ponderous volume made its appearance upon the 
library table. ... To tell the tale in its present form gives very 
little impression of the startling surprise with which it came before 
the community of scholars nearly half a century ago." 2 Wilson says: 
"The year 1837 may* be regarded as marking an epoch in the history 
of Ante-Columbian research. The issue in that year of the Anti- 
quitates Americanse produced a revolution, alike in the form and the 
reception of illustrations of ante-Columbian American history." 3 
The diary of Edward Everett Hale 4 interestingly revives for us the 
daily atmosphere and setting of the time when it appeared. 

The book immediately, and for long after, was discussed in numer- 
ous reviews and magazines. Rafn's historical account in English 
was republished at least twenty times in eleven different languages. 
Lectures on the subject were delivered by men of prominence like 
Governor Edward Everett, A. H. Everett, and George Folsom, as 
well as by others less well known. Leading scholars and historians 
took account of it, and only Irving and Bancroft were wholly hostile 
to Rafn's conclusions, of whom Irving later somewhat modified his 
opinion and Bancroft eventually withdrew opposition by omitting 

^No. 158. No. 246. 

8 No. 494. * Nos. 214, 215, 216. 


from his History any reference to the subject. The story of the sagas 
was retold in a more compact form by several writers. 1 

Such was the immediate effect of the book. With the content 
of the many discussions and controversies which it has inspired since 
then, we cannot further concern ourselves, except in so far as they 
involve new features in the unfolding of opinion about Dighton Rock. 
It is with regret that we accept the necessity of making this portion 
of our survey incomplete. We must restrict ourselves to mention 
of such as were especially influential, or made genuine contributions, 
or, through their inadequacy and unscholarly character, presented 
features of psychological interest or were responsible for the spread 
of erroneous ideas. 

One of the best of early opinions was that expressed by Edward 
Everett in a review of Antiquitates and in a lecture before the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society. He said that the copies of the inscrip- 
tion were too unlike to command entire confidence, declared that he 
remained wholly unconvinced of the truth of the Norse interpreta- 
tion, and continued: 

The representations of the human figures and animals appear to us 
too rude for civilized artists in any age, erecting a public monument. 
They greatly resemble the figures which the Indians paint on the 
smooth side of their buffalo skins. The characters supposed to be 
numerals certainly resemble the Roman signs for unity and for ten; but 
every straight mark resembles I, and every cross resembles X. In the 
characters supposed to be Runes, we behold no resemblance to the only 
specimens of Runes we have ever seen; 2 there is certainly none to those 
found in Baffin's Bay and at Iggalikoi, and described in this volume. 
No one would hesitate in pronouncing the inscription to be an Indian 
work, we think, but for the circumstance that it is wrought on stone 
and seems to require the use of iron. This region was a metropolitan 
seat of the Indians, the residence of the greatest chieftain known to 
the settlers of New England, for half a century after the landing at 

1 The statements in this paragraph are condensed from nos. 150, 483. 

2 Considerable confusion in discussion has arisen from the habit, much in- 
dulged in, of calling the characters on Dighton Rock runes. The only runic 
characters claimed for this rock were the Sol, initial of Snorre, the doubtful Th, 
and the trident-like M, initial of madr. The letters forming the numerals, 
words and name most discussed were regarded by Magnusen and Rafn as 
Roman, or modified Roman forms. Hence the many criticisms founded on their 
lack of resemblance to runes were irrelevant. 


Plymouth. In this time, the Indians were supplied with implements of 
iron from the colonists; why may it not have been wrought by Indians 
between 1620 and 1675? Or why may it not have been the work of 
some Anglo-American in that period? There are two or three other 
cases of curious inscriptions on rocks in New England, supposed to be 
of ancient and foreign origin, but afterwards found to be the work of 
whim, mischief or insanity. We do not, however, undertake to decide 
positively against the antiquity and civilized origin of the delineation 
on Dighton Rock. 1 

Alexander H. Everett believed that the Norse settlement on Mount 
Hope Bay was "beyond controversy," even though "throwing out 
of view all the evidence that may be regarded as in any way doubtful, 
such as ... the inscription on Dighton Rock." 2 The Rev. A. B. 
Chapin declared that it was plain that the Indians did not inscribe 
the letters. Either, then, the Norse view is correct, or they are a 
forgery; and the latter view is altogether unlikely and improbable. 
Schoolcraft well expressed one of the early opinions adverse to Rafn's 
conclusions : 

The event recorded is manifestly one of importance in Indian history. 
We consider the characters hieroglyphics of the Algic stamp. They are 
not Runic characters.. Some of the principal resemblances to Runes, 
which appear in the latest copy of this inscription, are wholly unnoticed, 
in this shape, in the previous drawings. The letters R, I, N reversed, 
and X appear first on Kendall's drawing in 1807, when the country had 
been settled and cultivated, and the inscription gazed at for more than 
a hundred years. And we think it would be hazarding little to suppose 
that some idle boy, or more idle man, had superadded these English, or 
Roman characters, in sport. The mode of explanation adopted by 
Mr. Magnusen appears to be far-fetched, in some respects cabalistic, 
and throughout overstrained. . . . There could have been but little 
difficulty in making the impressions with sharp pieces of hornstone or 
common quartz. . . . Similar hieroglyphics [on the Housatonic and 

* No. 158. 

2 No. 156. In 1864, E. E. Hale presented to the American Antiquarian 
Society the two representations of Dighton Rock which A. H. Everett used in 
his lectures. They are greatly enlarged copies, with some slight differences, of 
the Rhode Island version in Antiquitates. Each measures nearly 4x6 feet. 
The View is based on Bartlett's, but is an oil painting, executed for Mr. Everett 
by a certain "Bower" of Providence doubtless the sign-painter, Samuel J. 
Bower, mentioned in the 1838 directory. See no. 211. 


Allegheny] seem to indicate that the Indians had the means of accom- 
plishing this species of inscription. 1 

How strongly the new theories appealed to the popular fancy is 
evidenced by the success of two uncritical books that appeared 
within a short time after the publication of the Antiquitates. In 
1839 Joshua T. Smith published the Northmen in New England. 
It shows no originality aside from putting its exposition and defence 
of Rafn's views in a rather prolix and uninteresting dialogue form, 
of no present value except as a curiosity of the literature of the sub- 
ject. A much more striking comment on popular taste is afforded 
by the long continued demand for a small treatise by the Rev. Asahel 
Davis, "Chaplain of the Senate of New York," as he is styled in 
some editions. Its first edition appeared apparently in 1838; the 
second edition, of 1839, is a small pamphlet of sixteen pages; its size 
gradually increased in successive editions to somewhat more than 
double that number. It is exceedingly ill-written, frequently un- 
grammatical, made up of choppy paragraphs of poorly selected and 
ill-balanced material taken with uncritical faith from the Bible, from 
reports such as that of an extinct race of men nine feet in height 
whose remains have been found in various states, and from Rafn. 
Yet ten editions had been called for by 1842, ten more within the 
next six years, and a thirtieth thousand is reported to have been 
issued in 1854. 

Three utterances of the years 1840-1841, by men whose opinions 
carried weight, were perhaps as representative as any of the early 
arguments that were possible on either side, before wider and con- 
clusive evidence had been assembled. In 1840 George Bancroft 

By unwarranted interpolations and bold distortions, in defiance of 
countless improbabilities, the plastic power of fancy transforms the 
rude etching into a Runic monument. . . . Calm observers, in the vi- 
cinity of the sculptured rock, see nothing in the design beyond the 
capacity of the red man of New England; and to one intimately ac- 
quainted with the skill and manners of the barbarians, the character of 
the drawing suggests its Algonquin origin. Scandinavians may have 
reached the shores of Labrador; the soil of the United States has not 
one vestige of their presence. 2 

1 No. 398. No. 31. 


Irving, in a review of Bancroft's History, wrote in 1841 : 

As for the far-famed Dighton Rock, he sets it down as so much moon- 
shine, pronouncing the characters Algonquin. . . . We give up the 
Dighton Rock, that rock of offence to so many antiquaries, who may 
read in it the handwriting of the Phoenicians, Egyptians, or Scandi- 
navians, quite as well as anything else. Indeed, the various fac-similes 
of it, made for the benefit of the learned, are so different from one an- 
other that, like Sir Hudibras, we may find in it "A leash of languages 
at once." We are agreed with our author that it is very good Algonquin. 

On the opposing side, Beamish says all that could be said for a 
Norse Dighton Rock by referring to the "unanswerable arguments" 
of Professor Rafn, which, he claims, leave "no reasonable doubt as 
to its being the work of the Northmen." His work as a whole may 
have been worthy of the republication which it received, but the 
part wherein he comments on the rock shows a careless and inaccu- 
rate reading of his sources such as has often characterized the ad- 
vocates of startling theories about this inscription. It was he who 
made the misquotation about the "Western parts of our Country" 
that has been already mentioned; and he also made the erroneous 
statement that "the combined letters which follow the numerals 
may be decyphered N.M. the initials of norronir menn (Northmen)." 
It will be rememberecf that the combined letters referred to, M, were 
actually read NAM by Magnusen and Rafn, and that it was in the 
next line below that they found the N-ship-M standing for seafaring 

Samuel Laing, some of whose remarks have already been quoted, 
devoted a dozen pages of sharp and for the most part justifiable 
criticism to the subject of Dighton Rock and the Newport windmill 
in his Heimskringla of 1844. Besides suggesting natural veining of 
the rock and deliberate fraud as possibilities, he justly says that the 
marks resembling letters may not be letters at all, but merely scratches, 
marks or initials, made at various times by various hands; and that 
interpretation may assign them to any people or period one may 
please to fancy. In the same year appeared the first German book, 
so far as I have observed, devoted to the Norse discoveries by 
Karl H. Hermes. He gives a survey, based on Rafn, of copies and 
theories of Dighton Rock, accepts Rafn's reading of "Thorfinn," 
thinks the Portsmouth and Tiverton rocks may be Norse, rejects 


the skeleton and the mill, and rejects also Rafn's reading of the 
numerals CXXXI. What the X's mean he is not sure. But he sug- 
gests that they may be the mystic X of the ancient church, the Greek 
sign of the cross, long used in Europe as a protection against evil 
influences; or possibly even Thor's hammer, used in dedicating any- 
thing to the gods. He concludes that the rock testifies indubitably 
and unambiguously to the presence of the Northmen. Paul Guillot's 
translation into French of Wheaton's History of the Northmen also 
appeared in 1844, and the translator in his notes accepted the in- 
scription as having been proved to be Norse. 

I. A. Blackwell, writing in 1847, thinks that Rafn "might have 
spared us a great deal of learned trifling" by omitting his dissertation 
on the inscribed rocks. "The Dighton Rock is covered with tortuous 
lines which may be made to mean any thing or nothing, and which 
after all the noise that has been made about them may probably be 
the handiwork of one of old Sachem Philip's Wampanoag Indians." 
Herein, we have seen, he was expressing the opinion of a great many 
of his predecessors. Thus far, however, there was but little more 
knowledge of Indian handiwork in the making of petroglyphs, that 
might serve as a sound basis for such opinions, than had been ex- 
pressed by Kendall in 1807, depending largely on the observations 
of Dr. Stiles. The publication of the Ancient Monuments of the 
Mississippi Valley by E. G. Squier and E. H. Davis in 1847 gave new 
arguments to the anti-Norse faction; and in 1848 Squier minutely 
examined "the alleged monumental evidence of the discovery of 
America by the Northmen," and said that on comparing Dighton 
Rock with many known Indian petroglyphs, " the conclusion will be 
irresistible that this particular rock is a true Indian monument, and 
has no extraordinary significance. " As to the Norse discoveries, 
"there is nothing which has tended so much to weaken the force of 
the arguments which have been advanced in support of that claim in 
the minds of those acquainted with the antiquities of our country, as 
the stress which has been laid on this rude inscription." 

Argument by ridicule is often more effective than more direct 
attacks. This method found expression in the "Antiquarian hoax" 
of 1847 and in James Russell Lowell's caricature, which was not 
developed until 1862, but of which we find the first hint in 1848. The 
former appeared in the course of a newspaper controversy concern- 


ing the Newport Stone Mill, the contributions to which were later 
assembled by C. T. Brooks. 1 With the utmost solemnity, and no in- 
dication that his statements were not to be taken seriously except 
the veiled one implied in his use of high-sounding and meaningless 
names and descriptions of non-existent incidents, a writer who signed 
himself "Antiquarian, Brown University" claimed that the characters 
were Furdo Argyto Dnostick, were made by an ancient race sup- 
posed to be ^Egypto-Drosticks, and were discovered and described 
by the Northmen. His pompously worded absurdities were so 
mingled with statements of fact that they were at first sight not easy 
completely to expose. David Melville of Newport attempted the 
task, in language that was perhaps more intemperate and abusive 
than convincing, but finally settled the matter by writing to Rafn, 
who replied that the statements by Antiquarian were a downright 
fabrication, intended to mystify the public, and that the persons 
mentioned by him as supporting his claims were fictitious characters. 
Lowell's caricature of the Norse theory is amusing and should be 
read in full if one would follow exhaustively the fortunes of our rock. 
In his first series he mentions the rock by name, saying of it only 
that every fresh decipherer is enabled to educe a different meaning. 
In the second series he represents the Rev. Homer Wilbur as deeply 
interested in the apparently Runick characters on a relic recently 
discovered in North Jaalam. He solves its mystery by a complex 
process. First he writes down a hypothetical inscription based upon 

1 Nos. 15, 83, 310, 366. The hoax is said by C. E. Hammett, Jr. (Biblio- 
graphy and Literature of Newport, 1887, p. 28) to have been due to two well 
known Newport wags. Their names, not given by Hammett, are disclosed in a 
letter written November 10, 1875, by Dr. David King (1812-1882) of Newport 
to Justin Winsor, then librarian of the Boston Public Library. In this letter, 
which is pasted into a copy of Brooks's pamphlet owned by the Library, Dr. 
King said: 

"The above mentioned pamphlet was compiled for M r Hammett by the Rev. 
Charles T. Brooks, late Pastor of the Unitarian Church of Newport. The re- 
marks, introductory and conclusive, were written by Mr. Brooks. 

"The letters from Brown University were written by W m H. Cranston, and by 
Henry Tisdale of Newport. W m H. Cranston was a Lawyer, and became, subse- 
quently, Editor of the Daily News of Newport. He was, also, for several years 
Mayor of Newport. Henry Tisdale was a very bright intelligent man, a silver- 
smith, and for [several years a member of the City Council of Newport. The 
letters signed, one the Oldest Inhabitant; of Newport were written by David 
Melville, at one time Surveyor of the Customs of Newport. The lines by a Lady 
at p. 55, were composed by M" W L. Littlefield of this City." 


O W 

U - 
Of. u 

S S 

Q ,,- 


antecedent probabilities, and then proceeds to extract from the 
characters on the stone a meaning as nearly as possible conformed to 
this a priori product of his own ingenuity. He then reads the letters 
diagonally, and finally upside down, each time confirming his inter- 
pretation. This convinces him that he has read it correctly as a 
record of the fact that a certain Bjarna here first drew smoke through 
a reed stem, and that this was a proof of the ante-Columbian dis- 
covery of America by the Northmen. Lowell meant it, of course, 
only as pure fun and good natured satire; but by a curious dispensa- 
tion of Providence that has decreed that Dighton Rock's dim tracings 
should incite every variety and method of interpretation that can 
be devised by human ingenuity, whether scientifically calm and 
sound, or the product of seriously taken imaginings, or even such as 
may be due to positively paranoiac mental processes, the satire 
was also an unintended prophecy. We shall find one of the characters 
in our drama in very recent times, extracting from the inscription 
in all seriousness a number of readings, all of them different yet all 
of them true, and arriving at one of them by turning the inscription 
upside down! 

We have assembled now practically all of the typical arguments 
on either side. For the Norse hypothesis there has really never 
been anything to say except to express a faith that Rafn was right. 
On the other side, apart from presentation of a rival theory, or from 
constantly growing knowledge of the details of Indian customs and 
workmanship, to examination of which we shall turn shortly, there 
was little to do except to point out the inadequacies of the evidence 
in favor of Scandinavian artists. In order to put this constantly re- 
curring and wholly sound argument once more in new words, we will 
make a final quotation, this time from Bowen's review of Schoolcraft: 

Detached portions of it may now seem meaningless or alphabetic, 
which amounts to the same thing; and these portions may naturally 
seem Runic to an imaginative northern antiquary, or Sanscrit to an 
Oriental one. A little group of these unmeaning and half-effaced 
scrawls, which can be construed, at most, into half a dozen alphabetic 
characters, is a very narrow basis to erect a theory upon. 

Though we must now take leave of Thorfinn and his' 151 com- 
panions, his Skrellings and his terror-inspiring bull, yet the debate 
for and against him does not historically cease at this last date from 


which we choose to quote. Numerous champions possessed of well- 
known names have arisen since then, and numerous equally well- 
known opponents. There is constant interest and occasional humor 
awaiting anyone who may wish to follow the controversy in all of 
its successive phases. For the aid and comfort of such as may be 
tempted to the performance of this task, a few discussions not yet 
referred to may be mentioned here in a footnote, out of the large num- 
ber that have taken place. These, at least, should not be overlooked. 1 
As a final word, we may recall how strongly this theory of the rock 
has appealed to the imagination, and how many instances we have 
taken notice of wherein the exercise of this faculty has tempted to 
an expression of opinion many who were utterly unequipped in knowl- 
edge or judgment to say anything about it worth printing, and has 
led astray others better equipped into the adoption of an unscientific 
attitude on the subject. It is not surprising to realize, therefore, 
that the romance and fascination of this theme have stirred the ardor 
of a number of poets. Longfellow felt the inspiration. Sinding has 
already been quoted. John Hay made a humorous allusion to the 
difficulty of the "Dighton runes" in his class-day poem, Erato, in 
1858. Sidney Lanier accepted the truth of Rafn's story in his Psalm 
of the West: 

Then Leif, bold son of Eric the Red, 

To the South of the West doth flee 

Past slaty Helluland is sped, 

Past Markland's woody lea, 

Till round about fair Vinland's head, 

Where Taunton helps the sea, . . . 

They lift the Leifsbooth's hasty walls 

They stride about the land. 

1 (A) Favorable to Norse origin of inscription: Lossing (in 1850-52 suggested 
that the inscription was the record of a battle with Indians made by Scandi- 
navians acquainted with and using Phrenician letters, but hi 1876 stated that 
the Norsemen left no traces, except the tower at Newport), Hosmer, Anderson 
(1874, but in 1907 was "hospitably disposed" to Horsford's location of Vin- 
land), Goodrich, Bodfish, Gagnon, Henrici, Neukomm. 

(B) Favorable to Rafn's localities at least approximately, but reject Norse 
character of inscription: De Costa, Hereford, Goodwin, De Roo. 

(C) Unfavorable to Rafn's localities and Norse inscription: Cabot, Haven, 
Wilson, C. R. Hale, Gaffarel, Lodge, Slafter, Higginson, McLean, Reeves, Power, 
Fiske, Baxter (1893), Ruge, Fischer, Avery, Vignaud. 

(D) Bibliographical and critical: Watson, Winsor, Hermannsson. 


And another of America's well-loved singers made allusion to a 
rival "Northman's Written Rock" in his Double-headed Snake of 
Newbury, and devoted an entire poem to The Norsemen and their 
supposed visit to New England, a few of whose appreciative lines may 
well close this portion of our history: 

My spirit bows in gratitude 
Before the Giver of all good, 
Who fashioned so the human mind 
That, from the waste of Time behind, 
A simple stone, or mound of earth, 
Can summon the departed forth; 
Quicken the Past to life again, 
The Present lose in what hath been, 
And in their primal freshness show 
The buried forms of long ago. 1 


Although preserving many of the essential features of Rafn's treat- 
ment, the translation offered by Gabriel Gravier in 1874 possesses 
enough of novelty to need separate mention. The author gives a 
fairly good survey of earlier opinions, and reproduces Rafn's version 
of the Rhode Island Historical Society's drawing. His originality 
consists largely in asserting that when Thorfinn sailed from Straum- 
f jord he left there twenty men and consequently, since nine others 
had gone off with Thorhall, had but 131 with him at Hop. The in- 
scription is so read as to give evidence of this. At the extreme left 
of the drawing is seen the number XX, followed by a long wavy de- 
scending line which he regards as the rune Jcaun, and below these a 
P-like character, which he interprets as the Icelandic thau, signifying 
a ship. The Jcaun means "enflure," a dwelling at the foot of a hill; 
and its irregular prolongation indicates the path that was followed 
between the ship and the dwelling. Thus are indicated the conditions 
at Straumfjord. The CXXXI has its usual significance, instead of 
the forced meaning of 151 which Rafn assigned to it. The next fol- 
lowing character, M, is accepted, in accordance with its interpreta- 
tion by Magnusen and Rafn, as being a monogrammatic NAM, 
meaning "occupation of a country." Gravier naturally fails to dis- 

1 Whittier, Complete Poetical Works (1894), pp. 9-11. 


cover Magnusen's "Norse seamen," since that occurs only on the 
Baylies drawing. In its place, he takes the inverted Y which follows 
the M as the rune madr, meaning men. The than of the name 
Thorfinn he thinks has been effaced by rain and tide, and for the 
rest of the name he accepts Rafn's version. The human figures 
toward the left are Gudrida and Snorre, the latter confirmed by the 
neighboring rune sol, in accordance with Rafn's belief. The animal 
is the famous bull. The two personages at the right, however, are 
not Skrellings, but Thorfinn Karlsefne and his friend Snorre Thor- 

Instead of one Norse reading, therefore, there have been three 
more or less differing ones suggested. Their general purport is very 
similar. Although Magnusen's and Rafn's differ markedly only 
in the interpretation of the OR, yet all three wholly agree only in 
the meaning assigned to the monogrammatic M, and to the figures of 
Gudrida and her son. Gravier's version made little impression, 
having been noticed by only] a few reviewers and other writers. 1 


Side by side with this Norse theory there developed, with increas- 
ing detail and growing confidence, the opinion that the inscription 
was wrought by no others than the aboriginal inhabitants of the 
country. It may seem strange that this, the most natural view of 
all, should not have prevailed from the first. In fact, it had a few 
supporters 2 as well as many opponents in the periods surveyed in 
our earlier papers; and some of the reasons advanced on either side 
have been there summarized. 3 But, as Higginson remarked in 1882, 
" so long as men believed with Dr. Webb that ' nowhere throughout 
our widespread domain is a single instance of their having recorded 
their deeds or history on stone,' it was quite natural to look to some 
unknown race for the origin of this single inscription." 

This, however, was not the only reason advanced by Dr. Webb 
for his disbelief in the responsibility of the Indians. In his letter of 

1 One of these quotes M. Madier de Montjau as author of the paper; whereas 
this gentleman did nothing more than "analyze" the paper by Gravier at the 

2 Washington, Kendall, Davis: see our Publications, xix. 81, 104, 115. 
8 xviii. 235, 238, 239, xix. 105, 109, 111, 147. 




September 22, 1830, of which an abstract has already been given, 
we find the following statement of his opinion: 

In the Western pa. !^ of our Country may still be seen numerous and 
extensive mounds, sim' 1 -.r to the tumuli met with in Scandinavia, Tar- 
tary and Russia; also the remains of Fortifications, that must have re- 
quired for their construction, a degree of industry, labour and skill, as 
well as an advancement in the Arts, that never characterized any of the 
Indian tribes: Various articles of Pottery are found in them, with the 
method of manufacturing which they were entirely unacquainted. But, 
above all, many rocks, inscribed with unknown characters, apparently 
of very ancient origin, have been discovered, scattered through different 
parts of the Country: Rocks, the constituent parts of which are such as 
to render it almost impossible to engrave on them such writings, with- 
out the aid of Iron, or other hard metallic instruments. The Indians 
were ignorant of the existence of these rocks, and the manner of working 
with Iron they learned of the Europeans after the settlement of the 
Country by the English. ... No one, who examines attentively the 
workmanship [of Dighton Rock], will believe it to have been done by 
the Indians. Moreover, it is a well attested fact, that no where, 
throughout our widespread domain, is a single instance of their record- 
ing or having recorded their deeds or history, on Stone. 1 

Webb still held to this belief nearly twenty-five years later, al- 
though in the meantime he had himself seen many "marked rocks" 
on the Mexican border. 2 " A popular error, once started on its career, 
is as hard to kill as a cat," is the way in which John Fiske expressed 
his view of the situation. How the error has been killed, and the 
Indians proved entirely capable of having made the Dighton petro- 
glyph, we have now to trace. 

George Catlin made one of the earliest definite contributions. 
Somewhat simplified and condensed, this is his statement: 

I have been unable to find anything like a system of hieroglyphic 
writing amongst them; yet their picture-writings on the rocks and their 
robes approach somewhat toward it. Of the former, I have seen a vast 
many in the course of my travels; and I have satisfied myself that they 
are generally merely the totems or symbolic names, such as birds, beasts, 
or reptiles, of Indians who have visited these places and, from a feeling 
of vanity, recorded their names as white men are in the habit of do- 

1 No. 476. 

No. 482. 


ing at watering places. Many of these have recently been ascribed 
to the Northmen. I might have subscribed to such a theory, bad I not 
seen the Indians at work recording their totems amongst those of more 
ancient dates; which convinced me that they had been progressively 
made, at different ages, and without any system that could be called 
hieroglyphic writing. 

In the same year Alexander W. Bradford discussed ancient remains 
in the United States, including many rock inscriptions. With cor- 
roborative quotations from Lafitau and Charlevoix, he explains how 
Indians often paint on bark or blazed trees marks or pictures which, 
like heraldic devices, are symbolic of themselves personally, of their 
tribe and nation, of their actions and achievements; and that these 
are often identical with the designs painted on their own faces and 
bodies. They also use mnemonic symbols to aid in remembering 
their songs. Bradford did not mention Dighton Rock, even as in- 
directly as Catlin did; but we need to have his suggestions in mind. 

An important extension of knowledge in regard to Indian petro- 
glyphs was due to the work of Squier between 1846 and 1860. The 
earliest evidence of his interest in Dighton Rock is furnished by his 
unpublished letters to Bartlett. 1 In the course of one of them he 
mentions it, and says of other sculptured rocks that he is investigat- 
ing: "There will be no difficulty in making German or Runic, or 
Latin, or Choctaw out of them." His first publication, made in 
collaboration with E. H. Davis, was on the ancient monuments of 
the Mississippi Valley. In it he describes many pictographs, and 
remarks that those at Dighton, Tiverton, and Portsmouth "do not 
seem to differ materially in character" from these. 2 Shortly after- 
ward, he devoted an entire paper to the refutation of the Norse claim 
to Dighton Rock. 3 He omitted any reference to the rock, but dis- 
cussed the Fall River skeleton, in his Aboriginal Monuments of the 
State of New York, in 1849. He returned to the subject briefly and 
finally in a paper of 1860, wherein, speaking of the Runic, Hebrew, 
and Phoenician theories, he remarks: "Of late years, however, 
reveries of this kind have been generally discarded, and the investiga- 
tions of our monuments conducted on more rational and scientific 
principles." 4 

* Nos. 433, 434. No. 435. 

No. 436. < No. 437. 


Squier's Ethnological Journal paper 1 is worthy of extended notice. 
After a minute description of Dighton Rock and the " fanciful specu- 
lations" which have been based upon it, he remarks that if it should 
be found that the rock 

coincides in position with a large number of similar monuments in 
various parts of the country, which bear inscriptions, not only similar, 
but identical in style and workmanship; that some of these are known 
to have been inscribed by the existing Indian tribes, since the period of 
the commencement of European intercourse, and that it was and still 
is a common practice among the Indians to delineate on trees and rocks 
rude outline pictures commemorative of the dead, or of some extraor- 
dinary event, as the conclusion of a treaty, or the termination of a suc- 
cessful hunting or martial expedition; then the conclusion will be 
irresistible that this particular rock is a true Indian monument, and has 
no extraordinary significance. 

Numerous examples are mentioned, occurring usually, if not always, 
in positions where they would be most likely to attract the attention 
of individuals passing in canoes, or in the vicinity of old Indian trails 
or war-paths. Compared with Dighton Rock, 

A careful personal examination enables us to say that in style and 
workmanship they are indistinguishable. . . . The rocks bear outline 
figures of men and women, of animals of various kinds, tracks of birds 
and beasts, besides a multitude of lines and dots, which might easily be 
converted into inscriptions in any alphabet and language desired. . . . 
That the Indian nations of North America possessed no true hiero- 
glyphical system seems very well established. They had, however, a 
method of representation closely allied to it, which has with great 
propriety been denominated "picture-writing." By grouping figures of 
men and animals, and other natural objects, in connexion with certain 
conventional signs, they were able to convey to each other simple ideas, 
record events, and transmit intelligence. The scope of this representa- 
tion was, of course, extremely limited. 

He mentions the totems of tribes and individuals, and quotes 
supporting testimony from Heckewelder, Loskiel, Hunter, Catlin 
and others. All of the sculptured rocks, he continues, 

are clearly within the capabilities of the Indian tribes, by whom they 
were doubtless inscribed. Their tools, though rude, are, nevertheless, 
1 No. 436. 


adequate to the chipping of nearly every variety of rock to the slight 
depth required in these rude memorials. The tough syenite hatchets 
which they used previous to European intercourse with them, and for 
some time thereafter, cut sandstone readily, and with little injury to 
the instruments themselves; and it is very likely that the graywacke of 
the Dighton Rock would yield more readily than is generally supposed 
to their continued application. Besides, a personal examination of 
these rocks enables us to say that the amount of labor expended upon 
the largest rock of the Guyandotte group, making proper allowance for 
the difference of material, is five-fold greater than that expended on the 
rock at Dighton.. . . . The time, however, expended upon these rocks, 
in the process of inscribing them, is a matter of no consequence among a 
people who had so great an abundance to spare as the Indian. The 
labor expended in reducing to shape and polishing some of their hatchets 
and other implements of hornblende, greenstone, and kindred materials, 
was probably little less than that bestowed upon the most elaborate of 
the sculptured rocks. 

There is, therefore, nothing in the position of the Dighton rock, or 
the markings which it bears, to distinguish it from numerous others in 
different localities. It exhibits a correspondence with them in all essen- 
tial respects, not excepting the apparently arbitrary marks to which so 
much significance has been assigned. With slight additions and erasures 
here and there, and with small drafts on the fancy, it would be very 
easy to transform the unintelligible symbols upon the rocks of the 
Guyandotte into palpable records of European adventure, especially if 
tending to support an hypothesis in behalf of which something like 
national pride had been enlisted. 

Although Schoolcraft expressed four differing opinions within the 
space of fifteen years, yet on the whole he helped materially toward 
progress in clearing the mystery of the rock. We are probably 
justified in accepting Mallery's judgment that Schoolcraft told the 
truth in substance, although with much exaggeration and coloring. 
It certainly applies well to his final attitude toward this inscription; 
for although the detailed translation that he advocated has no claim 
to acceptance, yet he exerted a wholesome influence in attributing 
it to Indian sources. Schoolcraft also has the distinction of being 
responsible for the production of the first published photographic 
representation of the rock. 

In 1839, in a paper already quoted, Schoolcraft expressed opinions 


entirely hostile to the Norse theory, asserting that the characters on 
the rock are Indian hieroglyphics of the Algic stamp. At about the 
same time he sent to Rafn an account of a " Runic inscription," that 
of the stone found in the Grave Creek mound, now regarded as prob- 
ably fraudulent. 1 On November 17, 1846, he delivered an address 
before the New York Historical Society, showing a then wavering 
opinion. Regarding Massachusetts and Rhode Island as plausible 
localities of the Norse discoveries, he deplored the insistence on 
" localities arid monuments, which we are by no means sure ever had 
any connection with the early Scandinavian adventurers." 2 At 
a meeting of the same society on November 3, at his suggestion, a 
committee was appointed "to investigate the character and purport 
of the ancient pictorial inscription or symbolic figures of the (so 
called) Dighton Rock, with instructions to visit the same and report 
thereon to the Society," but there is no record that a report was ever 
submitted. 3 But Schoolcraft visited the rock in August, 1847, and 
made a drawing of such of its characters as were in the position where 
Rafn had imagined the name Thorfinn. His version differs consider- 
ably from any others, and to the writer seems to have no better claim 
to accuracy than they. It can be seen as Figure E of our Plate XXXV. 
Meanwhile, in 1839, Schoolcraft had submitted to Chingwauk, a 
well-known Algonquin priest and chief and an expert in the reading 
of Indian picture-writings, the drawings of Baylies and of Rafn. 
Selecting the former only, Chingwauk had furnished him with a 
detailed translation of all of its parts, except the central characters. 
In 1851, Schoolcraft published the first volume of his History of the 
Indian Tribes, in which he devoted over a dozen pages to a descrip- 
tion of Dighton Rock and a presentation of this new reading. 4 It 
was accompanied by a plate reproducing the Baylies drawing of 1789, 
to which a few characters from Rafn's version of the 1834 drawing 
had been added; 5 and by a second plate, which he called a synopsis 
of the Assonet Inscription, displaying the several figures and charac- 
ters detached from one another and arranged in separate compart- 

1 Memoires de la Society Royale des Antiquaires du Nord, 1840-1844, 119- 
127. For a cautious verdict on this tablet, see Hodge's Handbook of American 
Indians, i. 506. 

2 No. 399. * No. 336. 

4 No. 401. B Plate XXXV. 


ments of a square. On each plate he includes a separate figure, show- 
ing his own rendering of the central characters. We shall postpone for 
separate treatment the interpretation by Chingwauk, and present here 
only a much condensed account of Schoolcraft's own conclusions: 

That America was visited early in the tenth century by the adven- 
turous Northmen is generally admitted. Their Vinland has been 
shown, with much probability, to have comprised the present area of 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island. But the Assonet monument has 
been misinterpreted. Two distinct and separate inscriptions appear on 
it, of which it is evident that the Icelandic is the most ancient. The 
central space which it occupies could not have been left, if the face of 
the rock had previously been occupied by the Indian or pictographic 
part. The want of European symbols such as hats, swords, etc. 
connected with the figures representing the defeated enemy makes it 
hardly probable that this is a record of the defeat of the Northmen by 
the Algonquins; yet it is possible. The inscription was more likely, as 
is shown by Chingwauk, a triumph of native against native. 

More importance has been attached to the Dighton Rock inscription, 
perhaps, than its value in our local antiquities merits. There is no 
object of admitted antiquity, purporting to bear antique testimony 
from an unknown period, which has elicited the same amount of his- 
torical interest, foreign and domestic, as the apparently mixed, and, to 
some extent, unread inscription of the Dighton Rock. 

The rock was visited in August, 1847, in execution of the instructions 
of the New York Historical Society. Observation was rendered some- 
what unsatisfactory, because of a light marine scum deposited by the 
water on the rock's surface. It was evident, under all the difficulties of 
tidal deposit and obscure figures, that there were two diverse and wholly 
distinct characters employed, namely, an Algonquin and an Icelandic 
inscription. No copy of it, answering the highest requisites of exacti- 
tude, has, in my opinion, appeared. The principles of lithological in- 
scription, as they have been developed in ancient Iceland, appear to 
me to sanction the reference of the upper line of the foreign inscription 
to the hardy adventurous Northmen. Thus read, the interpretation of 
this part of the inscription furnished by Mr. Magnusen, appears to be 
fully sustained. Put in modern characters, it is this: CXXXI men. 
The inscription below is manifestly either the name of the person or the 
nation that accomplished this enterprise. 

And here it must be confessed, my observation did not enable me to 
find the expected name of "Thorfinn." The figure assumed to stand 


for the letters Th. is some feet distant from its point of construed con- 
nection, and several other pictographic figures intervene. The figures 
succeeding the ancient O cannot, by any ingenuity, be construed to 
stand for an F, I, or N. The terminal letter is clearly an X, or the 
figure ten. The intervening lines are all angular, and in this respect 
have a Runic or Celtic aspect. So far as they could, by great care, be 
drawn, they are exhibited in the Plates. With respect to the characters 
which should be inserted after the letters OR, as they appear in the 
drawings [of Baylies and Rafn], we have felt much hesitancy. There is 
doubtless something to be allowed for tidal deposit, for the obscuration 
of time, and for the want of a proper incidence of light. But with every 
allowance of this kind, and with a persuasion that this part of the in- 
scription is due to the Northmen, it did not appear that the characters 
usually inserted could be assigned to^fill this space. Nor did it appear 
that the letter R could be recognized. It is certain that the penultimate 
character is an X, or less probably the cardinal number 10. Of the 
intermediate characters, no positive determination can be made of the 
alphabetic value. Without doubt, the archaeologist is here to look for 
the NAME of either the leader of the party, or of the nation, or tribe, 
to which the adventurers belonged. A careful and scientific examina- 
tion of the subject, with full means and ample time, is invited. . . . 
Nothing is more demonstrable than that whatever has emanated in the 
graphic or inscriptive art, on this continent, from the Red race, does 
not aspire above the simple art of pictography; and that wherever an 
alphabet of any kind is veritably discovered, it must have had a foreign 

This confidence that the central inscription was of Scandinavian, 
though unreadable, character, was of brief duration. In 1853, Cap- 
tain Seth Eastman, of the United States Army, in pursuance of his 
task of supplying illustrations for Schoolcraft's volumes, secured 
a daguerreotype of the rock, probably not the first that was ever 
taken, 1 but nevertheless the earliest photographic reproduction of the 
inscription that has been preserved. The circumstances of its pro- 
duction will be described in a later connection. After seeing it, 
Schoolcraft, who reproduced it in the fourth volume of his work on 
the Indian Tribes, 2 came to his final conclusion concerning the in- 
scription: "It is entirely Indian, and is executed in the symbolic 

1 See p. 379, below. 

2 No. 402. See our Plate XXXVI. 


character which the Algonquins call Kekeewin, i. e., teachings. The 
fancied resemblances to old forms of the Roman letters or figures 
wholly disappear." This opinion he repeated in greater detail in 
I860) 1 but his comments at that time can be presented better in con- 
nection with our later examination of Chingwauk's interpretation. 

That the practice of picture-writing was of extremely wide extent 
among the Indians is repeatedly emphasized by Schoolcraft. Thomas 
Ewbank contributed to a spread of knowledge of this fact, and strongly 
cautioned " against an hypothesis, not more untenable than absurd 
that of seeking to explain Indian characters by phonetic symbols 
they are fancied to resemble. . . . Why, there is hardly a tribal 
mark painted on the face of a savage," he exclaims, "or tattooed on 
his person, but the germ of some European or Oriental letter might 
be imagined in it. As well derive Indian totems from books of natural 
history, and insist that mocassins were imitations of our shoes and 
leggings of our stockings." Daniel G. Brinton also insisted that 
Dighton Rock presented only a specimen of a kind of writing that 
was common throughout the continent. "They are the rude and 
meaningless epitaphs of vanished generations." 2 And again: 

Some antiquarians regard all these pictographs as merely the amuse- 
ment of idle hours, the meaningless products of the fancy of illiterate 
savages. But the great labor expended upon them and the care with 
which many of them are executed testify to a higher origin. They are 
undoubtedly the records of transactions deemed important, and were 
intended to perpetuate by enduring signs the memory of events or be- 
liefs. . . . Archaeologists are of the opinion that their differences [in 
different areas] are related to the various methods of sign-language or 
gesture-speech which prevailed among the early tribes. 3 

A life-long resident near the rock, an artist who often made paint- 
ings picturing its surface and surroundings, wrote well of it in 1883, 
and attributed it to the Indians. We need to quote only a few of his 
words, since they give us no new facts, but merely testify to the 
growth of this opinion in a neighborhood where proof of a foreign 
and ancient origin would naturally have been more welcome because 
of its seemingly greater importance: 

1 No. 403. 2 No. 75. 

8 No. 76. 


In considering the diverse theories that have been advanced as to the 
genesis of the sculptured characters on this famous rock and the diffi- 
culty, if not the impossibility, of proving or disproving either of them, 
it would seem as if the genius of mystery were brooding over the spot, 
hiding with an impenetrable curtain the meaning of the semi-obliterated 
characters, and one recalls the inscription before the mysterious temple 
of Isis, "yesterday, today, forever, and no mortal hath lifted my veil." 
. . . Those who think the inscription merely an example of the rude 
pictographs of the Indians now meet with little opposition to their views. 1 

The adoption by a German writer 2 of influence of the " most natural 
and simple view, that we have here only a very ordinary Indian 
petroglyph," was a further step in the advance of this opinion. As 
to the figures resembling runes, it would have been far simpler to 
regard the resemblance as due merely to accident; such "runes" can 
be seen on a great number of rock-markings" all over the world. 

The conclusion thus definitely established by this time was well 
expressed by J. W. Powell in 1890, though without reference by him 
to its application to Dighton Rock: "One of the safest conclusions 
reached in the study of North American Archaeology, is that graphic 
art on bark, bone, shell or stone never reached a higher stage than 
simple picture-making, in which no attempt was made to delineate 
form in three dimensions, and in which hieroglyphics never appear." 3 
Shortly after this the memorable study by Mallery of the picto- 
graphs of the American Indians appeared in its final form. 4 In his 
preliminary paper he had already said of Dighton Rock : " It is merely 
a type of Algonkin rock-carving, not so interesting as many others." 
In the later discussion he notes its resemblance in character to many 
other Indian glyphs in various parts of the country a resemblance 
which cannot fail to impress any one who impartially compares it with 
the many examples pictured in the book. His entire treatment of 
petroglyphs is of sufficient importance and interest to justify the 
presentation of some condensed extracts here, which may help in a 
final judgment concerning the one which is the object of our study: 

Picture-writing is found in sustained vigor on the same continent 
where sign language has prevailed and has continued in active operation 

1 No. 414. 2 No. 12. 

8 Prehistoric Man in America, in Forum, 1890, viii. 502. 

* Nos. 297, 298. 


to an extent unknown in other parts of the world. These modes of ex- 
pression are so correlated in their origin and development that neither 
can be studied to the best advantage without including the other. No 
doubt should exist that the picture-writings of the North American 
Indians were not made for mere pastime but have purpose and mean- 
ing. Their relegation to a trivial origin will be abandoned after a thor- 
ough knowledge of the labor and thought which frequently were necessary 
for their production. The old devices are substantially the same as the 
modern; and when Indians now make pictographs, it is with intention 
and care, seldom for mere amusement. They are not idle scrawls. The 
ideography and symbolism displayed in these devices present suggestive 
studies in psychology more interesting than the mere information or 
text contained in the pictures. It must be admitted that no herme- 
neutic key has been discovered applicable to American pictographs, 
whether ancient on stone or modern on bark, skins, linen or paper. 
Nor has any such key been found which unlocks the petroglyphs of any 
other people. The fanciful hypotheses which have been formed with- 
out corroboration, wholly from such works as remain, are now generally 
discarded. Drawings or paintings on rocks are distributed generally 
over the greater part of the territory of the United States. They are 
found wherever smooth surfaces of rock appear; often at waterfalls and 
other points on rivers and lakes favorable for fishing. Pictographs of 
the Algonquian type are frequent, extending from Nova Scotia to Penn- 
sylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and in isolated localities on the 
Mississippi river. Upon close study and comparison they show many 
features in common, and all present typical characters, sometimes un- 
defined and complicated. The ordinary Indian stone implements were 
fully capable of producing them, as has been demonstrated by recent 

Some Indian writings serve a mnemonic purpose as a pictorial re- 
minder of words and songs known by heart. Their employment to 
designate tribes, groups within tribes, and individual persons has been 
the most frequent use to which they have been applied. No attempt 
should be made at symbolic interpretation, unless the symbolic nature 
of the particular characters is known. With certain exceptions, they 
were intended to be understood by all observers either as rude objective 
representations or as ideograms, often so imperfect as to require eluci- 
dation. They are often related to religious ceremonies or myths. Some 
of the characters were mere records of the visits of individuals. The 
personal equation affects drawings and paintings intended to be copies 
of them. The more ancient petroglyphs also require the aid of the 


imagination to supply eroded lines. Travellers and explorers are sel- 
dom so conscientious as to publish an obscure copy of the obscure 
original. It is either made to appear distinct or is not furnished at 
all. Thorough knowledge of the historic tribes, especially of their sign 
language, will probably result in the interpretation of many petroglyphs. 
But this will not give much primary information about customs and 
concepts, though it may and does corroborate what has been obtained 
by other modes of investigation. It is not believed that much informa- 
tion of historical value will be obtained directly from their interpreta- 
tion. The greater part of them are connected with their myths or with 
their everyday lives. It is however probable that others were intended 
to commemorate events, but the events, which to their authors were of 
moment, would be of little importance as history. Modern ones refer 
generally to some insignificant event. 

If we accept the essential identity in character and origin of our 
Assonet inscription and those on numerous other rocks, then the re- 
marks of W. J. Holland on certain petroglyphs in Pennsylvania are 
pertinent, and emphasize an estimate of their significance different 
from that of most of the authorities thus far quoted. These are on 
the Ohio river, and are submerged except at low water. " I wish to 
say that I have no idea that they embody historic records. I picture 
to myself a tribe of lazy Indians camping on the edge of the river, 
engaged in fishing and hunting, and amusing themselves in their 
rough way by depicting things on the smooth surface of the stone 
with a harder stone. They speak of an idle hour and the outgoing 
of the pictorial instinct which exists in all men. I cannot see anything 
more important than that." 

Among the latest expressions of opinion by students of the Indians, 
now shared by all authorities of this class, 1 is the following by William 
H. Holmes: "The concensus of opinion among students of aboriginal 
art today is that the inscription is purely Indian, not differing in any 
essential respect from thousands of petroglyphic records (undeciph- 
erable save in so far as the pictures tell the story) scattered over 
the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific." Similarly Cyrus 
Thomas said in 1907: "The general conclusion of students in later 
years, especially after Mallery's discussion, is that the inscription 
is the work of Indians and belongs to a type found in Pennsylvania 

1 See letter of Bushnell, 1915, in our Publications, xviii. 235. 


and at points in the west." Thomas and other writers, in the same 
Handbook of the American Indians in which these remarks occur, 
discuss also other related topics which should be consulted. 1 A few 
extracts from these sources, stating facts to which we have not yet 
called attention, or emphasizing others of importance, will furnish 
our final quotations on this subject: 

Petroglyphs give little aid to the study of aboriginal history, since they 
cannot be interpreted, save in rare cases where tradition has kept the 
significance alive (i. 75; by W. H. Holmes). 

With the tribes north of Mexico the arts that may be comprehended 
under the term graphic are practically identical with the pictorial arts; 
that is to say, such as represent persons and things in a manner so real- 
istic that the semblance of the original is not entirely lost. Graphic 
delineations may be (1) simply pictorial; that is, made to gratify the 
pictorial or esthetic impulse or fancy; (2) trivial, intended to excite 
mirth, as in caricature and the grotesque; (3) simply decorative, serv- 
ing to embellish the person or object to which they are applied; (4) 
simply ideographic, standing for ideas to be expressed, recorded or con- 
veyed; (5) denotive, including personal names and marks of ownership, 
distinction, direction, enumeration, etc.; and (6) symbolic, representing 
some religious, totemic, heraldic, or other occult concept. It is mani- 
fest, however, that in very many cases there must be uncertainty as to 
the motives prompting these graphic representations; and the signifi- 
cance attached to them, even where the tribes using them come directly 
under observation, is often difficult to determine (i. 504; by W. H. 

While it would perhaps be too much to say that there exists north of 
Mexico no tablet or other ancient article that contains other than a 
pictorial or pictographic record, it is safe to assert that no authentic 
specimen has yet been brought to public notice. Any object claimed 
to be of pre-Columbian age and showing hieroglyphic or other char- 
acters that denote a degree of culture higher than that of the known 
tribes, is to be viewed with suspicion (i. 610; by Gerard Fowke). 

Significance is an essential element of pictographs, which are alike in 
that they all express thought, register a fact, or convey a message. 
They are closely connected with sign language. For carving upon hard 
substances, including cutting, pecking, scratching, and rubbing, a piece 

1 See especially articles on Archaeology, Engraving, Graphic Art, Inscribed 
Tablets, Pictographs, Popular Fallacies, Sign Language, Tattooing, Totem. 


of hard pointed stone, frequently perhaps an arrow-point, was an 
effective tool. From the earliest form of picture-writing, the imitative, 
the Indian had progressed so far as to frame his concepts ideographi- 
cally, and even to express abstract ideas. Later, as skill was acquired, 
his figures became more and more conventionalized till in many cases 
all semblance of the original was lost, and the ideograph became a mere 
symbol. While the great body of Indian glyphs remained pure ideo- 
graphs, symbols were by no means uncommonly employed, especially 
to express religious subjects. The form of picture-writing known as the 
petroglyph is of world-wide distribution and is common over most of 
North America. Our present knowledge of Indian petroglyphs does not 
justify the belief that they record events of great importance, and it 
would seem that the oft-expressed belief that a mine of information re- 
specting the customs, origin, and migrations of ancient peoples is locked 
up in these generally indecipherable symbols must be abandoned. 
When interrogated, modern Indians often disclaim knowledge of or in- 
terest in the origin and significance of the petroglyphs. Beyond the 
fact that by habits of thought and training the Indian may be pre- 
sumed to be in closer touch with the glyph maker than the more civil- 
ized investigator, the Indian is no better qualified to interpret petro- 
glyphs than the latte*, and in many respects, indeed, is far less qualified, 
even though the rock pictures may have been made by his forbears. 

That, as a rule, petroglyphs are not mere idle scrawls made to gratify 
a fleeting whim, or pass an idle moment, is probably true, although 
sometimes they are made by children in play or as a pastime. Never- 
theless their significance is more often local than general; they pertain 
to the individual rather than to the nation, and they record personal 
achievements and happenings more frequently than tribal histories; 
petroglyphs, too, are known often to be the records of the visits of in- 
dividuals to certain places, sign-posts to indicate the presence of water 
or the direction of a trail, to give warning or to convey a message. 
However important such records may have seemed at the time, viewed 
historically they are of trivial import and, for the greater part, their 
interest perished with their originators. Many of them, however, es- 
pecially in the southwestern United States, are known on the authority 
of their makers to possess a deeper significance, and to be connected 
with myths, rituals, and religious practices. Whatever the subjects 
recorded by Indian glyphs, whether more or less important, the picture 
signs and their symbolism were rarely part of a general system, unless 
perhaps among the Aztec and the Maya, but are of individual origin, 
are obscured by conventionalism, and require for their interpretation a 


knowledge of their makers and of the customs and events of the times, 
which usually are wanting. In most cases only the writer and his in- 
timate compeers possessed the key (ii. 242-245; by Henry W. Henshaw). 

The great and indisputable result of research along these lines, 
the only ones which have yielded definite and lasting results in con- 
tributing to the interpretation of Dighton Rock, has been to establish 
clearly the Indian origin of most if not all of the lines and characters 
marked upon it. No other rock, of course, exactly duplicates its 
designs. But those now known, of unquestionably Indian workman- 
ship, that are like it in character are exceedingly numerous. In some 
cases, even resemblance to particular figures has been noted. Thus, 
Catlin gives plates showing pictures of an animal very like that prom- 
inent on Dighton Rock. Similar human figures are found on plates 
in Schoolcraft, Squier, and Mallery. Characters resembling the 
square 0, the M, X, I, and R may be found in the same sources. 
Without such approaches to exact duplication, however, a general 
resemblance is repeatedly evident, and these authorities point out 
such resemblances in connection with an impressive array of locali- 
ties: New Mexico, the Mississippi valley, on the rivers Allegheny, 
Monongahela, Kanawha, Ohio, Guyandotte, Muskingum, Cumber- 
land, Tennessee, Missouri, Susquehanna, on Lake Erie. Particularly 
close resemblance is evident in the case of the rocks at Smith's 
Ferry, Pennsylvania, pictured by Holland, and is claimed by 
Mallery for others in the same State, one near Millsboro, the 
Indian God rock near Franklin, the Big Indian rock and one at 
McCall's Ferry on the Susquehanna. 

It clearly follows that the numerous objections urged from tune 
to time against the possibility that the aborigines of the region 
were the carvers of the rock have been completely disposed of. 
Against the early view that no similar Indian monuments exist, that 
the occupation and the designs were incompatible with their customs 
or their powers, we now have a complete and convincing answer. 
To the plea that the Indians were ignorant of the existence or origin 
of this and other inscriptions, and hence could not possibly be its 
authors, we may call attention to the pertinent statement made in 
our last quotation, and may say with Tylor: "There is seldom a key 
to be had to the reading of rock-sculptures, which the natives generally 


say were done by the people long ago; " 1 and with Goodwin: "The 
Indians of New England had no traditions and legendary songs. 
Even the intelligent Massasoit knew nothing of his immediate prede- 
cessors." If it be urged that the Indians were too idle and lazy for 
such work, Mallery will tell us what patient and laborious tasks they 
executed, and Holland and others express the belief that it was by 
very reason of their idleness that the picture-making amusement was 
engaged in. And when the attempt is made, as usual, to clinch the 
unfavorable argument by claiming that they had no adequate tools, 
we learn on the authority of those who have personally tested it that 
the ordinary stone implements of the Indians sufficed; 2 and more- 
over, if metal instruments had to be conceded, there is no evidence 
that the work was done until after metal tools had been supplied to 
the native tribes. 

This realization that without any doubt most of the characters, 
at least, are Indian pictographs, does not help materially toward dis- 
covering what information, if any, they were intended to record. 
Chingwauk made a translation, but no modern authorities regard 
it as worthy of credence. Many opinions have been advanced, not 
as to their exact translation, but as to their general significance. We 
have seen some of our authorities, early and recent, believing that 
they are meaningless scrawls and pictures, executed purely for amuse- 
ment, or even accidental marks made in the process of sharpening 
arrow-heads. Others strongly urge that they were meant to record 
definite and important facts or. events; though even so, there is no 
expectation that their translation would yield material of any his- 
torical importance. If they possess meaning, then we have sugges- 
tions that the event recorded may have been some important trans- 
action, treaty, battle, or other event; or the depiction of hunting 
scenes. Some of the characters may be mnemonic reminders of 
events or of songs or formulae, or symbols of myth and religion. 
Some may be totem-marks of tribe or individual, closely connected 
with similar designs painted on the face or body. Some may be 
English letters, initials of the names of Indians who had become 
familiar with the act of thus affixing signatures or marks to deeds. 
Some may be tally marks, and some may even represent a map of 

1 Early History of Mankind, 1878, chap, v, on Picture- Writing. 
3 See especially American Anthropologist, 1892, v. 165. 


some locality. These are the most important suggestions that have 
been offered, and it is evident that in no such case would it ever be 
possible to translate genuinely any of them. Only if it were known 
that a particular formula was there mnemonically indicated, or a 
particular myth symbolized, or a particular event illustrated, or a 
particular individual's initial or totem or face-device inscribed, could 
we be sure that that was among the features of the record. Such 
procedure is manifestly not translation, but recognition of some- 
thing already known as at least probably there. Whatever may be 
possible in the future, thus far not even a single item of such recog- 
nition has been established. The differing hypotheses as to the 
general nature of the characters need not be taken as mutually ex- 
clusive rivals. It is probable that instead of one connected record, 
the rock-surface preserves marks made on many different occasions 
and for different purposes. Most, if not all, of the suggestions 
offered may be equally applicable. 

We have said that it is certain that most of the characters were 
made by Indians. Even the established presence of detached letters 
of the English alphabet would not necessarily indicate anything other 
than initials of Indians of colonial times. It is fair, however, to make 
one reservation. The many translations that we are assembling for 
their historical and psychological interest are all of them, we may 
be sure, mere pleasing flights of imagination, grown-ups' fairy-tales, 
without foundation in reality. No genuine word or message has ever 
yet been deciphered on the rock. Yet we must concede that the 
characters engraved there have been always so faint and obscure, 
even in the earliest days in which white men began to observe them, 
that no one can be sure of more than a small portion of the original 
lines. It is not impossible that sometime, through improvements 
in photography, or through the development of yet unknown methods 
of bringing to light old and invisible pressure-marks on the surface, 
much as careful manipulation may bring out successively the separate 
writings of a palimpsest, the now hidden tracings, if there be any, 
may be known. In such case, there might be found dates, names, 
words, or messages that would prove that other records were inscribed 
there besides those of the Indians. That is by no means a wholly re- 
mote possibility; for we shall mention in the end a very recent and 
wholly new suggestion along these lines. Yet unless and until some- 


thing of that sort becomes conclusively established, we must not only 
reject all rival theories that have thus far been advocated, but con- 
cede that there is no reason yet presented for a belief that any part 
of the inscription is of other than Indian workmanship. 


It is tune now for us to return from these general considerations 
to the examination of particular translations and theories. We have 
traced the development of the two continuing and chief rivals, most 
seriously and widely held, the Norse view and the Indian; and 
have found one of them continuously losing ground and the other 
growing and strengthening to complete certainty. They have not 
been, however, the only theories in the field, and the rest of them must 
now be described. First among them we will consider the reading 
by Chingwauk, which, although Indian in content, yet forms no part 
in the development of sound ideas in Indian interpretation but be- 
longs rather in the class of purely fanciful speculations. The account 
of it will be abbreviated from Schoolcraft; l and reference to the 
numbers which he attached to his drawing will aid in identifying the 
portions of the inscription under discussion. 

I will introduce an interpretation which was made by Chingwauk, a 
well-known Algonquin priest or Meda, at Michillimackinac, in 1839. 
He is well versed in the Ke-kee-win, or pictographic method of com- 
municating ideas. He is the principal chief on the British side of the 
river at Sault St. Marie. He is quite intelligent in the history and tra- 
ditions of the northern Indians, and particularly so of his own tribe. 
Naturally a man of a strong and sound, but uncultivated mind, he pos- 
sesses powers of reflection beyond most of his people. He has also a 
good memory, and may be considered a learned man, in a tribe where 
learning is the result of memory, in retaining the accumulated stores of 
forest arts and forest lore, as derived from oral sources. He was one of 
the war-chiefs of hia tribe, in the perilous era of 1812. He speaks his 
own language fluently, and is still regarded as one of the best orators of 
his tribe. 

To him Schoolcraft submitted the plate in Antiquitates Ameri- 
cans containing the drawings of Baylies and of Rafn. Chingwauk 

1 Nos. 401, 403. Compare with Plate XXXV. 


selected the former exclusively, and excluded from it the central 
characters, which he did not regard as belonging with the rest. It 
will be remembered that Schoolcraft himself at first considered them 
Scandinavian, but later changed his opinion. After scrutinizing the 
engraving, Chingwauk remarked: "It is Indian; it appears to me 
and my friend to be a muz-zin-na-bik 1 (i. e., rock-writing). It relates 
to two nations." He then took the volume to his lodge in order 
to study it further, and on the following day gave the following 
interpretation : 

All the figures to the left of the line AB relate to the acts and exploits 
of the chief represented by the key figure, Number 1, and all the devices 
to the right of it have reference to his enemies and their acts. The in- 
scription relates to two nations. Both were Indian people. No. 1 rep- 
resents an ancient prophet and war-captain. He records his exploits and 
prophetic arts. The lines or plumes from his head denote his power 
and character. No. 2 represents his sister. She has been his assistant 
and confidant in some of his prophetical arts. She is also the Boon of 
Success in the contemplated enterprise, and she is held out, as a gift, 
to the first man who shall strike, or touch a dead body in battle. No. 3 
depicts the prophet's or seer's lodge. It has several divisions, appro- 
priated to separate uses. Part a denotes the vapor-bath, or secret 
sweating lodge, marked by crossed war-clubs. The three dots, in the 
center of the apartment b, denote three large stones used for heating 
water to make steam, and are supposed to be endowed with magical 
virtues. The sacred apartment, c, from which oracular responses are 
made, contains a consecrated war-club, d, of ancient make, and a con- 
secrated pole or balista, e. 

No. 4 represents a ponderous war-club, consecrated for battle. No. 5, 
the semicircle of six dots, signifies so many moons, marking the time he 
devoted to perfect himself for the exploit, or actually consumed in its 
accomplishment. 6 is the symbol of a warrior's heart; 7, a dart; 8, the 
figure of an anomalous animal which probably appeared in his fasts to 
befriend him. 9 and 10 are unexplained. 11 represents the number 40. 
The dot above denotes skulls. 12 is the symbol of the principal war- 
chief of the expedition against the enemy. He led the attack. He 
bears the totemic device of the Pighoo, or northern lynx. 13 is the 
symbol of the sun. It is repeated three times in the inscription; once 
for the prophet's lodge, again for his sister, and again for the prophet 
himself, as his totem, or the heraldic device of his clan. 14 represents a 


sea bird called MONO, or the loon. It is the prophet's name. 15 is a 
war-camp, the place of rendezvous, where the war-dance was celebrated 
before battle, and also the spot of reassembly on their triumphant 
return. 16 is an ensign, or skin flag, and 17 an instrument used in war 
ceremonies in honor of a victory, as in ceremoniously raising the flag, 
and placing it in rest after victory, to be left as a memento. 18, 19, and 
20 are dead bodies, the number of men lost in the attack. 21 is a pipe 
of ancient construction ornamented with feathers; 22 a stone of proph- 
ecy; 23 unexplained; 24 without significance; and 25 a wooden idol, set 
up in the direction of the enemy's country, and within sight of the 
prophet's lodge. 

The devices to the right of the line AB have relation, exclusively or 
chiefly, to warlike and prophetical incidents on the part of the enemy, 
represented by 26, 27. They are drawn without arms, to depict their 
fear and cowardice on the onset. They were paralyzed by the shock, 
and acted like men without hands. 28, 29 are decapitated men, prob- 
ably chiefs or leaders. 30 is a belt of peace, denoting a negotiation or 
treaty. 31 is the enemy's prophet's lodge; 32, a bow bent, and pointed 
against the tribe of Mong, as a symbol of preparation for war and of 
proud boasting; 33, a symbol of doubt, or want of confidence in the 
enemy's prophet; 34, a lance pointing to the enemy, a symbol of boast- 
ing and preparation; 35, an ancient war-club. 

The purport of the section to the left of the line CD appears doubt- 
ful. Most of the marks appear without meaning. It appears to be the 
territory of the Mong tribe. 39, 40 are villages and paths of this people 
or their confederates; 41 is Mong's village, or the chief location of the 
Assonets, being on the banks of a river. It may also represent a skin 
flag used in the war, and the dance of triumph. 

Schoolcraft himself attempts to interpret a few of the figures left 
unexplained by Chingwauk: 43 denotes war-like implements; 47, a 
banner; 45, a headless enemy, the drawing of which from the 1837 
version, he forgot to introduce on his combination plate. The number 
23 he attached to one figure on this plate, but to another on his 
"synopsis," where it applies to the character M just to the right 
of the CXXXI, 44. The M-like part of this, and of figure 42, he 
wrongly says has been interpreted by Mr. Magnusen as an ancient 
anaglyph, standing for the word men. In reality, Magnusen con- 
sidered it a monogram for NAM, while the runic letter that he in- 
terpreted as men was the right half of Schoolcraft's 21. We have 


already made acquaintance with the latter's Scandinavian interpre- 
tations of a few remaining characters. 

In 1860, Schoolcraft connected this interpretation by Chingwauk, 
made by him "with priestly skill in necromancy," with the battles 
and triumphs of the local Wampanoag Indians. He says there, in 

The Pokanokets were descended from an ancient stock, and, it is 
believed, they established themselves on the peninsula, with the aid of 
their friends and allies, the Narragansetts and Pequots, after conquer- 
ing the tribes which then held possession. Evidences of their ancient 
triumphs have, it is believed, been found in the rude and simple picto- 
graphs of the country. These simple historical memorials were more 
common among the hills. and valleys of the country, when it was first 
occupied, than they are at the present day. On the Dighton rock, the 
amazement of the vanquished at the sudden assault of the victors, is 
symbolically depicted by their being deprived of both hands and arms, 
or the power of making any resistance. The name of the reigning chief 
of the tribe, is likewise described by a symbol to have been Mong, or 
the Loon, and his totem, the Sun. The name of Wampanoag, by which 
the Pokanokets were also designated, appears to denote the fact, that 
they were, from early times, the custodians of the imperial shell, or 

It is hardly to be wondered at, after this, that Mallery, though 
speaking in the main appreciatively of Schoolcraft, remarked that 
he was "tinctured with a fondness for the mysterious," and that 
interpretation by Indians must be received with caution; or that 
Cyrus Thomas says that "this Indian's explanation is considered 
doubtful." Acquainted as we now are with the fact that any one 
may with equal justification interpret any of the pictographic figures 
on the rock in whatever manner pleases his own prejudice and fancy, 
we can naturally allow no more weight to the priestly fancies and 
habits of thought of Chingwauk than to those of a Gebelin, a Hill, or 
a Magnusen. All of them are picturesque and of historical value, 
all of them illustrate instructive phases of psychology, but all of 
them are snares and delusions if taken as possible truths. 


An entirely new theory was advanced soon after the publication 
of the Antiquitates Americanae, by Edme Franyois Jomard, "presi- 


dent de 1'academie des inscriptions et belles-lettres de 1'Institut." 
It was first expressed in a letter written in August, 1839, to Eugene A. 
Vail, "citoyen des Etats-Unis," and published by the latter, "without 
permission," in the following year. In 1845, Jomard related the cir- 
cumstances and cited his earlier letter. He had been engaged for a 
long time, he said, in seeking traces of a dialect which he called the 
ancient Libyan, represented by the modern Berber, once universally 
spoken along the 80-day caravan route from Egypt to the Gates of 
Hercules. This was the common language of the caravans which, 
from before the time of Herodotus, engaged in the commerce of salt 
along the entire northern coast of Africa. 

When I began to study the monument of Taunton, my surprise was 
great to recognize the analogy of its forms with the inscriptions of 
Fezzan and of the Atlas. I have never admitted the pretended deriva- 
tion of American, Mexican or Peruvian monuments from India or from 
Egypt. What appears to me most probable is that the Africans of the 
Canaries, or even the Carthaginians, have been in contact with the 
Americans. Not only would the trade winds have carried them a 
thousand times to America, but they would also have been likely to 
have sought in this direction for riches such as the commerce of India 
and of China procured for the Asiatics. The inscription on the Taunton 
rock, although of a barbaric design, presents forms which are unmistak- 
ably like the Libyan characters. . . . The monument is evidently ancient. 


Next after the Norse and the Indian theories, that of ancient 
Phoenician origin has possessed an appeal that has gained the largest 
number of adherents. We met with a number of them in the periods 
dealt with in our earlier papers. Among them we should have in- 
cluded Francis Baylies, born near the rock, son of one who had had 
a life-long interest in it, and himself devoted to historical research. 
He was among those who held that " the absence of any similar mon- 
ument in North America, and the total ignorance of the natives as 
to its origin and design would seem to indicate in a manner too clear 
to admit of doubt, that we must look elsewhere for its authors." 
He does not definitely espouse the Phoenician view, but nevertheless 
he admits the possibility of its being true. 

An article appeared in the Taunton Whig in 1839, strongly sup- 


porting the responsibility of the Phoenicians. The editor of the paper 
remarked that it consisted of "extracts from a letter written by a 
gentleman in our vicinity." If this gentleman was not actually 
Joseph W. Moulton at least he used almost the exact arguments of 
the latter. 1 Besides presenting the reasons for his own belief, he is 
authority for the fact of the visit to the rock in " 1798" of "M. Adel," 
which we have interpreted as meaning probably 1796 and M. Adet; 
and he claims to have seen the celebrated and elusive "bird" 
which Moulton had not seen in 1824 and also on the south end of 
the rock a number of marks, observed by none before, including 
three triangles resembling the Greek Delta, and " the rude outlines of 
the head and body of a man. 2 To find these figures much depends on 
the position of the sun; I think the afternoon is the most favorable 
time for an examination." 

Another anonymous writer of 1841 was attracted by the same 
possibilities : 

This mass of traditions convinces us that the Phrenicians, Egyptians, 
and Greeks, were acquainted from the remotest times with Atlantic 
islands, peopled by Atlantians or Cimbrians, and that these islands com- 
prehended the Americas. ... It would be too bold to draw an inference 
from the monument, apparently Punic, which was found some years ago in 
the forests behind Boston. It is possible that some Tyrians or Cartha- 
ginians, thrown by storms on these unknown coasts, uncertain if ever 
the same tracts might be again discovered, chose to leave this monu- 
ment of their adventures. Of their further expeditions there is no 
trace. Nor do we know whether these adventurers returned, or what 
attraction the marshy feet of the American mountains held out to the 
avarice of the Phoenicians. 3 

Lossing expounded a sort of combination view about 1850: 

When we remember that the Phoenicians were for many ages in the 
undisputed possession of the traffic of the Baltic, around which clus- 

1 See our Publications, xix. 122. I have found no indication that Moulton 
ever lived nearer to Taunton than Roslyn, Long Island. 

2 I doubt very much whether any marks exist on the south, or down-stream 
end of the rock. There are some, however, on the up-stream end, ordinarily 
wholly invisible, but on rare occasions in unusually favorable light appearing 
with great clearness; see below, p. 406. If these are the ones here meant, then 
this person is the third previous observer who has seen them. His description 
differs much from that of Dr. Stiles, but is reconcilable with the actual characters. 

8 No. 143. 


tered the Scandinavian nations, and that Runic, or ancient German 
inscriptions, in Phoenician characters, have been discovered in abun- 
dance in all the countries formerly occupied by these nations, the infer- 
ence is plainly correct, that the Scandinavians received their alphabet 
from the Phoenicians. ... Is it not reasonable to infer that these 
Scandinavians, acquainted with the Phoenician alphabet, made a 
record of the battle upon the rock [at Dighton], by a mingling of alpha- 
betical characters and pictorial hieroglyphics? 

William Pidgeon believed that the rock at Dighton offered strong 
evidence of the presence of Phoenicians or their descendants on 
this continent. He also had faith in the presence in this country of 
authentic relics of Romans, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Danes and 
Hindoos. He is perhaps a rather late survival of a type of person 
so delightfully described by a reviewer of about the same time that 
it may relieve the monotony of our pages somewhat to quote him: 

The learned have occupied themselves in tracing the physical migra- 
tions of particular races of men; . . . how our Punic friends, the Irish, 
quitting Asia, strayed to the green isle and thence, finally, shilelah in 
hand, to "the land of the free and the home of the brave"; how our 
uncles the Welsh peopled the upper Missouri and turned into Kickapoo 
Indians; in what manner our cousins the Norwegians settled New Eng- 
land and were the original Yankees; and how the pyramid-builders of 
Mexico and Yucatan, the Aztecs, were nothing in the world but the 
lineal progeny of the Lost Tribes of Israel, who, to our thinking, were 
no great loss anyhow, judged either by their previous behavior or by 
their manners when found again. 1 

The next advocate in order of time, Onffroy de Thoron, presented 
such an elaborate and sparkling gem that we shall reserve considera- 
tion of him to the last among this group. A paper written in 1890 by 
George M. Young of Boston shows that this gentleman, who claimed 
to be "compiling all material obtainable" but who derived his in- 
formation apparently solely from Barber, possibly Schoolcraft, and 
Arnzen, inclined to the Phoenician theory. Rufus K. Sewall, vice- 
president of the Maine Historical Society, held that "Deighton Rock 
and Monhegan ... are possible footprints not of Northern visits 
alone but of Phoenician adventure here." Herbert M. Sylvester 

1 "Notes on New Books," in National Intelligencer, September 13, 1848. 


seems to concede the possibility of a Phoenician origin when, after 
describing this and the Norse theory and denying that it could have 
been due to the Indians, he remarks : " Its antiquity is more remote, 
possibly, than as yet has been accorded it." ( Finally, in a local news- 
paper of 1915, 1 there is given almost in its entirety the old exposition 
by Gebelin with a remark by the editor that the extract describes "a 
probable visit by the Phoenicians" to Dighton, that many now-a-days 
believe the inscription to be the work of Indians, and that the reader 
is left to draw his own conclusions. 

As a fitting conclusion to our survey of these believers in the 
American commerce of the Phoenicians, we will now return to Onffroy 
de Thoron, Ancien Emu* du Libau (1840). His book, 2 mentioned 
apparently by only one writer on our subject 3 and thus discovered 
only by rare good fortune, is of the extravagant type which is so 
refreshing when it is taken, not with the seriousness intended by 
the author, but in the spirit in which we read Gulliver's Travels. 
At the outset he tells us that he has discovered the fact of the triennial 
voyages of the fleets of Solomon and of Hiram to the river Amazon, 
where were the regions of Ophir, Tarschich and Parvaim, and 
whence the Phoenicians derived great wealth; and further, the primi- 
tive language, still living and spoken within the limits of the terres- 
trial Paradise the Kichua language of Peru. Now he announces 
his third great discovery, to the effect that the Phoenicians made 
voyages to Haiti and also, taking a northerly route past Iceland and 
Greenland, marched southward by land, followed by other fragments 
of maritime and commercial people; and, as the centuries went by, 
their families were mingled with the autochthonous populations, 
which absorbed them, though their language still survives in Mexico 
under the name of Tsendal, and likewise their story of Votan, myste- 
rious founder of the colonies and of the cult of the Serpent. Dighton 
Rock supplies a proof of these migrations. 

He follows the Rafn version of the inscription, reproduced from 
Gravier. Its characters are not Norse, but Phoenician and Cam- 
panian. He displays apparently deep philological learning in tracing 
the local usage of each letter and the derivation and significance of 
each word that he recognizes. Into these ramifications we shall not 
follow him. Beginning with the marks on the breast of the bust at 

1 No. 261. 2 No. 342. s No. 183. 





the left, from which Gravier had omitted the horizontal line, thus 
leaving three separate characters he identifies them, reading right 
to left, as the Phoenician letters m,l,n: malon, equivalent to the se- 
pulchral phrase " here lies." This n and this m, he says, are the charac- 
ters which Magnusen accepted as meaning Northmen a new error 
in placing the actual characters thus read by the much misunder- 
stood runologist. The allegorical image at the right of the bust the 
little Snorre of the Rafnites represents a buried person, upon whom 
and by whose side tears are seen. 

To follow the rest of his translation by aid of the drawing, 1 we must 
begin with the familiar CXXXIM line and continue it, trending 
upward, to the O equipped with a descending tail; and below, be- 
ginning with the hour-glass arrangement of the shoulder of the bust, 
proceed through the intervening characters to the end of Rafn's 
ORPINS. Reading from right to left, the tailed O is a q, the long 
curve an n, the square an o, and the triangle an a: qanoa. The in- 
verted Y is g, the A, d: gad. The rest of the M, an inverted V, 
is g, and the I is 1: gal. Two X's form the word iheth. The next X is 
again th, the gamma is p: thop. Passing to the rightward end of the 
line below, the S part of the terminal X is sh, the stroke that crosses 
it is /, and the rightward half of the N is again /: shdlal. The other 
half of the N is I, the I is n, the F is g, the R is r: le-ndgar. The dia- 
mond-shaped O is o, the curving line to the left of it is n, the dotted 
line descending from the latter is g: oneg. Then the dotted curve 
with its opening to the right is /, the diagonal stroke leftward from 
it is g, the curved line attached to the latter is 1: le-gdl The upper 
part of the last-named curve is I, the O beyond it is o, the hour-glass 
is q, and the stroke meeting its inner angle is /: qal-lo. The entire 
message is translated by its gifted decipherer into both Latin and 
French: "Invidiosus fortunae, ruinas dareferiendo spoliabat: Effusa 
est vita delicata sicut unda rapida" - "Envieux de la fortune, pour 
causer les ruines, il pillait en frappant: Sa vie voluptueuse s'est 
ecoulee comme Fonde rapide." Since this turns out to be apparently 
the most puerile announcement that the old rock ever has been com- 
pelled to yield, the reader may study both of these versions in order 
to make out of them as much as he can. Taken in connection with 
the word on the bust, the buried person, and the tears, the whole 

1 Rafn's drawing, Plate XXXIV. 


may be freely rendered: "Here lies one whom we mourn. Seeking 
to enrich himself, he fought, pillaged and laid waste. His luxurious 
life passed by like a rapid wave." 

Judging from the transitional character of some of the letters used, 
the author concludes that the emigration from which this inscription is 
derived took place approximately at the time of the conquests of Alex- 
ander the Great, which would assign to it a date not far from 330 
B.C. He demands for his results a just and reasoned criticism, with- 
out distortion of his meanings; and the verdict may well be rendered 
in words which he himself used in passing judgment on the " inven- 
tions" of Rafn: "They are on a level with the fantastic translations 
which, every Friday, Messieurs Michael Breal, Ernest Renan, Jules 
Oppert and Gaston Paris, professors in the College de France and 
members of the Institute (Inscriptions), gravely read before their 
silent auditors." In thus employing his own words to express judg- 
ment of himself, we are concerned only with the fact that he believed 
that the translations referred to were fantastic, and not at all with 
the question as to whether his opinion of them was a sound one. 


Buckingham Smith, who was an eager student of Mexican history 
and antiquities, suggested in 1863 a new type of interpretation of a 
portion of the inscription. In the midst of the emblems of the abori- 
gines by which they are surrounded he finds a series of letters which 
he believes to be initials or cyphers used in the Catholic church for 
words of sacred significance. We are not told what characters of 
the rock were so taken; but there is practically no doubt that 
they were, as read by him from a single line of the Rafn drawing: 
I. XXX. I.M. I. This he interprets as meaning: Jesu Christo Santi- 
simo Jesus Maria Josef. "Mr. Smith suggests that these inscriptions 
may possibly have been derived from Spanish missionaries who pene- 
trated the country at a very early period, of whom no account has 
been transmitted; and refers to the stone found in Onondaga county, 
New York, which has upon it the figures 1520, 1 as perhaps deter- 
mining the period of these memorials." 

1 For a cut of this stone see Squier's Aboriginal Monuments of the State of 
New York, 1849, Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, ii. 172, art. ix. 


If the reader will examine the Hathaway photograph, Plate XXXII, 
he will discover that the line underneath the one used by Smith can 
easily be read: CORMX. Following Smith's method of procedure, 
he can readily expand this into (Sanctum) Cor Matris Christi, and 
claim that our missionary-inscriber was a member of a Congregation 
of the Sacred Heart earlier than the one now engaged in missionary 
labors under that name. Moreover, if he will search carefully, he 
may discover a date, closely approximating the one fixed by Smith. 
There is such a date clearly distinguishable in the photograph men- 
tioned. The discovery of where and what it is may perhaps best be 
left for the present to the reader's own ingenuity, reserving its more 
serious consideration for a later purpose. Though we may not feel 
inclined to regard Buckingham Smith's suggestion as being any more 
entitled to acceptance than its many equally fanciful rivals, yet it 
seems worth while to realize that it can be more or less consistently 
amplified by these two further items, overlooked by him. 


Among the persons and peoples who have fallen under suspicion 
of having fabricated the stone document that we are examining, 
the Chinese, though vaguely hinted at, were never given serious con- 
sideration. At last, however, a keen modern detective followed out 
the clues to the final establishment of their guilt at least to his own 
satisfaction. We are unable in his case to compare his translations 
with the characters transliterated and translated, as we have at- 
tempted to do in all previous cases when the author furnished the 
necessary information. In this case, we shall have to content our- 
selves with the results, without understanding how they were 

On March 1, 1883, the "Rev. John P. Lundy 1 made a communica- 
tion" to the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia 
"upon a remarkable fact which he had just discovered after long 
study, viz., that the Mongolian symbolism of writing was to be found 

Squier accepts the stone as probably "a genuine remnant of antiquity;" so also 
apparently does Schoolcraft (no. 401, p. 109). 

1 John Patterson Lundy, Princeton, 1846; D.D. Andalusia College, 1869. 
Rector of Church of the Holy Apostles (Presbyterian) in New York, 1869 to 
1875. Author of Monumental Christianity. Bora 1823, died 1892. .> 


on the rock-sculptures of Mexico and Central America, and that by 
the aid of the former the latter could be readily and easily deciphered; 
that these latter were evidently of Mongolian origin, and that he 
had interpreted some of the symbols in Stephen's Yucatan by means 
of Mongolian symbols." On April 5, he read an essay upon the 
Dighton Rock inscription, which he claimed to have translated by 
means of Chinese radicals, to the following effect: 

A chain or band of folk from the Sunrising (or East), after a long 
and stormy voyage, found the harbor of a great island. It was wild, 
uninhabited, green and fruitful. On landing and tying up our boats, 
we first gave thanks and adoration to God, Shang-Ti, the Supreme 
Ruler of the Universe. We then sacrificed a human head to the moon, 
burning it and the body on a round sun-altar. The next morning a 
bright sun shone auspiciously on all things below; the heavenly omens 
and prognostics, duly consulted, were all favorable. We then struck 
across the tangled forest-land westward. Our mouths hankered after 
something to eat and drink. We found the blue-black maize of our 
native land and wild fruit. We filled our rice-kettles. We dug a pit 
under the rocks of a hill-side, put in our corn and fruit, and cooked 
them. We sat down under the shady trees, covered with wild grapes, 
and ate our fill. When the moon rose, we retired to our hut or bough- 
house, and slept. The next day we pushed on westward through the 
tangle, guided by the sun. The chief gave the orders and led the way. 
We all followed in close march. We crossed some low hills and came to 
green meadows, filled with wild rice or oats. A stream of water came 
down from the hills. We stopped; we made a great feast; we sang and 
danced around our big kettle; its sweet odors curled up high to Shang- 
Ti, our God and Father in heaven. This memorial-stone or altar is 
dedicated to Shang-Ti, our Ruler and Guide to this newly-found island. 


We are certainly now nearly sated with theories. Yet the theory 
mongers are ever at work, and give themselves and us no rest. We 
can deal rapidly with a number of their suggestions, in support of which 
they have discovered no evidence. For instance, Samuel A. Drake 1 
concedes that it is generally admitted that the inscription is Indian; 
but adds that if the work of white men, it would strengthen the theory 
of Verrazano's presence in these waters. Laing, whom we have 

1 No. 139. " * 


quoted, asked what there is to prove that these marks are not the 
work of early European settlers, or the scratches of some idle sailor 
boy. Edward Everett also, it will be remembered, thought that there 
was a possibility that they were made by some Anglo-American be- 
tween 1620 and 1675. Schoolcraft, in his review of 1839, suggested 
that the English or Roman characters might have been added to the 
Indian marks by some idle boy or more idle man, in sport. Baxter 
informs us that some writings on the Maine coast, claimed to be 
Norse, are known to have been made by boys, for sport. 1 Squier also, 
in his paper of 1848, was of the opinion that some of the lines were 
preserved from disappearance, or even brought into existence, by 
the constant rubbing to which they are exposed from the sticks and 
canes of visitors. In an earlier paper, we examined two traditions 
related by Kendall, attributing the sculptures to English sailors. 

We have the authority of Kendall also for a vague tale of pirates 
who made the inscription. Such rumors are not yet dead in the neigh- 
borhood. A resident of the town tells me that when he was a boy he 
knew an old man who claimed that he could read the inscription on 
the rock. Its purport was to the effect that "I, so-and-so, have 
buried treasure in such-and-such a position, measured thus-and-so 
from this rock." In connection with such tales, we have already 
noticed James Winthrop's story of much digging for treasure in the 
vicinity. Again, similar stories persist. A correspondent who lived 
near the rock years ago knew an elderly lady, who, when she was a 
girl, knew of a treasure-hunter whose enterprise terminated when he 
slipped and broke his leg. The most circumstantial tale that I hear 
in the neighborhood is the following, related by a man who knew the 
hero of the tale when he was a boy. The said hero dreamed for three 
nights running that he had found treasure near Dighton Rock. 
Consequently he went to it at low tide and began digging. He quickly 
noticed that the tide began to rise almost immediately, although it 
was long before the time for it to do so. Thus interrupted in his 
digging, he turned toward the river. In the mist before him he saw 
the devil, equipped with all his paraphernalia of tail and horns and 
cloven hoof, mocking and laughing at him. Convinced that the 
treasure was effectually guarded hei fled in terror. 

In the earliest period of this history, we found a few who believed 

1 No. 43, p. 27. 


that nature alone, with its weather-cracks and veins and stains, was 
the sole designer of the figures on the rock. Besides the other sug- 
gestions referred to above, Laing, after relating the instance of the 
Runamo stone, hints that the "Deighton Written Rock would per- 
haps be the better of a certificate from the mineralogist, as well as 
the antiquary." Webb tells us of one person who was positively 
sure that there is no inscription on the rock. In a letter of February 
4, 1838, he complains to Bartlett: "John Whipple laughs at the 
whole affair, denies that there are any such figures as we represent 
on the Tiverton Rocks, having visited them many times, that there 
are hundreds of just such rocks in our Bay all of which were marked 
by the action of water, stones, &c, and that these markings have by 
the conjurings of our imaginations been fashioned into the shapes 
delineated on our plates. He considers the Inscription Rocks, Ani- 
mal Magnetism, & Phrenology, among the humbugs of the day." 
Apparently he refers to the same person in his letter of sixteen years 
later to John Ordronaux, in which he says: "One denied that any 
kind of Inscription was on the Assonet Rock; declaring that the 
markings were mere lusus Naturae; or at most, simply the results 
of combined action of wind, water, ice and kindred influences." 1 

These miscellaneous theories would be incomplete without mention 
of one which I believe to be a complete fabrication. A boy of fourteen 
or fifteen years residing temporarily in Dighton told me that he could 
read the inscription on the rock. The characters, he said, are all 
Indian names. He knew a dozen or so of them, but a friend of his 
once knew them all, about fifty in number. He could remember 
only the names Leo, Viola, Varcana the first being the name of 
the infant pictured there. He could not describe the characters that 
spelled these names, except as different kinds and groups of X's; nor 
could he draw them. He would have to show me on the rock itself, 
and we never found opportunity to go to the rock together. He 
claimed to have studied the Indian language and writing at a high 
school in Vermont. Among the neighbors he had the reputation 
of telling big stories; one said he was "just a plain liar;" and a report 
from the school where he gained his unusual ability to read Indian 
writings naturally disclosed the fact that nothing of the sort had ever 
been taught there. But it is worth while to have a "plain lie/* 

1 Nos. 481, 482. 


especially when so picturesquely developed, to add to our collection. 
We have already had hoaxes and parodies. To make the collection 
complete and well-rounded we have yet in store first a fascinating 
possibility that proves a pricked bubble in the end, and then finally 
such a wild flight of genuinely disordered confusion and fancy as 
seemingly to pass the bounds of sanity. 

The pricked bubble presented the appearance of a thrilling romance 
at first, with possibilities of proving a precious source of information 
concerning our rock. The story originated in a communication from 
General Guy M. Fessenden to the Warren Telegraph on June 2, 1860, 
and was repeated in 1904 by Virginia Baker. It relates that after 
King Philip's War the remnants of the Wampanoags fled to Maine and 
there merged with the Penobscot tribe. Up to half a century ago, 
parties of Penobscot Indians were in the habit of making periodical 
visits to Warren. Among them was Francis Loring, known also as 
Chief Big Thunder, custodian of the tribe. He informed General 
Fessenden "that the tribe had in their possession, and which they 
carefully preserved among their national archives, an ancient book 
made of skins [or of birch-bark], containing many descriptions of 
important historical localities, some of which are in this vicinity, 
all of them in the ancient Indian style of signs and picture writing." 1 
By its aid Mr. Loring had no difficulty in locating the ancient 
Wampanoag national grinding mill, and an Indian cemetery. Un- 
fortunately the ancient book was later accidentally destroyed by fire. 

This story seemed worth probing further; for if Assonet Neck was, 
as some assert, a favorite hunting ground and national possession 
of the Wampanoags; if they were the carvers of Dighton Rock; and 
if their ancient book accurately described their chief historic locali- 
ties and monuments, then might there not be some hope that it 
contained a description, perhaps a reproduction, possibly even an 
interpretation, of the Assonet inscription? And even though the 
book itself was no longer in existence, might not some present Indians, 
especially the successor to Big Thunder as custodian of the records, 
still have vivid memories of its former contents? It would be strange 
if true, yet not to be discarded as utterly impossible. I was for- 
tunate in being directed eventually to the right source for settling the 
question convincingly. Dr. Frank G. Speck of the University of 

1 V. Baker, Massasoit's Town Sowanis in Pokanoket, pp. 36-37. 


Pennsylvania, who has made intimate studies among the Penobscots, 
gives me the following information: 

It is very doubtful whether any of the Wampanoags ever merged 
with the Penobscot. Francis Loring or Big Thunder was a Penobscot 
mixed blood who died some years ago. It is enough to say of him that 
he was a "show-man" in every sense of the term. He was a most un- 
reserved liar and no secret was made of it among the Penobscot. His 
business was the deception of the public. He had a little relic shop on 
Indian Island where he sold "ancient relics'* which he manufactured, 
and I have encountered many stories and traditions which were his 
own invention. Among them must be included the "ancient Book" 
hoax. In short, Big Thunder was a joke among all who knew the 


We have seen in the treasure hunting stories evidence of a sort 
that Dighton Rock is under the particular care and protection of 
his Satanic Majesty; and that he has been at work also in his more 
familiar role as Father of Liars. We might have suspected it from the 
confusion of tongues and of opinions that have attended it through- 
out its eventful history. Back in the dim beginnings of things Cotton 
Mather taught that it was probable that the Devil seduced the first 
inhabitants of America into that continent, and 

therein aimed at the haying of them and their Posterity out of the 
sound of the Silver Trumpets of the Gospel, then to be heard through 
the Roman Empire; if the Devil had any Expectation, that by the 
Peopling of America, he should utterly deprive any Europeans of the 
Two Benefits, Literature and Religion, which dawned upon the miser- 
able World, one just before, t'other just after, the first famed Navigation 
hither, 'tis to be hop'd he will be disappointed of that Expectation. 1 

One writer on the Rock expresses wonder that Mather, believing 
that the Devil led out a colony of miserable savages to America 
for the reasons stated, " had not also suggested the idea that this rock 
probably recorded some event connected with that expedition of 
his Satanic Majesty and that the strange characters were the work 
of Tartarian chisels." 2 Another, reflecting on the fact that no two 

1 Magnalia, bk. i. ch. i. p. 2. 

2 No. 27, p. 82. 


careful and faithful copies of the inscription can appear intended 
for the same design, says that " the stone itself seems to be endowed 
with a magic power of deception." 1 



We^have plentiful indications, it would seem, of diabolic influ- 
ences centering about the ancient relic. Yet if the King of Evil has 
thus exhibited a special liking for this boulder of sandstone, his right 
to it has not been undisputed. According to our next authority, his 
most redoubtable adversary has also claimed it for his own; and thus 
there has raged over it a genuine Zoroastrian conflict between the 
powers of Good and Evil. Still, it is the Prince of Darkness himself 
who must be held accountable for this new and greatest masterpiece 
in Dighton Rock literature, if it be true that extravagant mental de- 
lusions, beyond anything we have yet examined, are an indication 
of possession by the devil. The reader will understand that I am 
expressing no opinion as to whether or not the production now to be 
reviewed is an offspring of actual paranoia. He will readily arrive 
at his own conclusions. My function will be simply to lay before 
him certain facts of intense psychological interest, in a form more 
systematic that than in which the author presents them. 

In 1910 there was published a beautifully printed and illustrated 
folio volume of 432 pages under the title: "Fernald Genealogy. 
Universal International Genealogy and of the Ancient Fernald 
Families. ... By Charles Augustus Fernald, M.D. . . . Principal 
of G.U.S. & F.A." 2 This extraordinary book purports to trace the 
genealogy of the Fernald family back to Ava and Adam, our first 
parents, who were created 4376 B.C. Its long line includes the royal 
houses of China, Persia, Egypt, and France, and all of its members 
from the first have such titles as FNR, FNA, PHRA, FERNEL, 
etc., as part of their names, which seem to be regarded as the equiva- 

1 No. 128, p. 308. 

2 Fernald received his M.D. at the Harvard Medical School in 1872, and 
afterwards practised in Boston. The initials of his self-conferred title stand for 
"God's United States and Foreign Alliance." He was born December 5, 1847, 
at Wolfborough Centre, N. H.; died March 15, 1916. Besides this book, he 
published also: The Downfall of Rome; or, History Repeating Itself, 1896; and 
in 1899 issued two editions of a large folded sheet printed on both sides, entitled: 
Genealogy of the Ancient Fernald Family, From Adam to Date. 


lent of the modern FERNALD. The author claims to have discov- 
ered the primitive language (which was ^Egyptian) and the primitive 
alphabet, and his method seems to be first to translate his ancient 
documents into these, and thence into English in a manner peculiar 
to himself. As evidential documents, there seems to be nothing 
mysterious and unreadable that does not serve him. China, Japan, 
Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome, the ancient Hebrews and the 
American Indians, all contribute to his material. He pictures and 
translates inscriptions on pyramids, obelisks, papyrus, rocks, ivories, 
shells, coins, medals, implements, rings, seals, grave-stones, coats 
of arms, manuscripts. His favorite sources seem to be Egyptian 
records, Roman coins, Hebrew scriptures, the Moabite Stone, the 
Tablet of Abydus, an "ancient Chart Log," the American Indian 
mounds, the Newport Tower, Dighton Rock, and the Peter Faneuil 
Tomb in Boston all of them translated by his own peculiar method. 
Incidentally, he claims that George Washington was a Fernald, 
and that he so signs himself in his well-known signature; that William 
Shakespeare was the nom-de-plume of Samuel Washington, who also 
was a Fernel; that the Phoenicians driven by Joshua founded Ireland, 
whose real name was Furna; that the Dalai Lamas of Thibet were 
named Fa, equivalent to Fernald; and even that God's name in the 
primitive language was O, which means Fa. He intersperses his 
narrative with moral platitudes, pious maxims, epigrammatic sayings 
of eminent men, all of them utterly irrelevant. " Do nothing today 
that you will repent of tomorrow. Use temporal things, but desire 
eternal;' 5 "Historical Truth Doth Accurately Repeateth Itself;" 
"Right is true equity and impartial justice;" these are examples, 
and his pages are abundantly adorned with the like. There are many 
other irrelevant materials. Prominent among them is the fact that 
the author is " Principal of God's United States and Foreign Alliance," 
whose chief purpose seems to be the advocacy of three laws against 
alcoholism and sexual immorality. Because Popes Leo XIII and 
Pius X refused to support these measures as advocated by him, he 
claimed that the Roman Catholic Church had poisoned his ancestors, 
including Dr. Jean Fernel, legitimate son of Charles VIII of France, 
and had profited by the twenty million dollars stolen from them. 
Consequently he sent to the Popes a bill for this sum and interest on 
it, against which he drew checks to individuals and nations amount- 


x i 







ing in all, according to his statement (page 136), to about Ij quad- 
rillion dollars. In other ways he exhibits a strong anti-Catholicism; 
and he is quite as strongly anti-grammatical, anti-coherent, and anti- 
systematic. 1 As a typical example of his accuracy and coherence, 
the following is illuminating: "In South America, the Mississippi 
Valley, North and South through the interior of the Continent, 
1200 miles in width: flows its River more than 4000 miles from head 
to outlet of its longest branch." 

The lack of an index and the almost utter lack of system in the 
arrangement of his rambling material, make it difficult to give an 
impartial and reliable account of his claims and of their basis. For 
most assertions, no evidential basis is even suggested. I have gleaned 
enough, I think, to represent him fairly. To add criticism of my 
own to the attempt that I shall make to present his method, so far 
as I have been able to understand it, and the results that he obtains 
will be entirely unnecessary. 

Scattered here and there can be found a few examples that show 
his method of interpretation. They will be entirely convincing as 
to the value of all of his translations. Usually he gives no indications 
whereby the reader can at all follow and test his readings; but these 
selected instances are probably typical of them all. (1) On page 6 
he gives the "Mound History of Creation from one of five transla- 
tions all true." His method permits as many different translations 
from one source as one may wish to make. (2) On pages 29 to 32 
he gives "six all true translations from a grave tablet in ^Egypt." 
They differ utterly. For one of them, he reverses the plate "to show 
one mode of reading;" and in an adjoining plate he shows "the in- 
scription on Dighton Rock . . . reversed to show one of six read- 
ings." - So far as the reader can judge from text and plates, the six 
readings from the Egyptian tablet are identical with the six from the 
entirely dissimilar inscription on the rock. (3) A single curved line 
(^^) on a "Babylonish design" (page 82) he calls a large C, and 
tells us that it "declareth that Christ shall cut his line on Dighton 
Rock." (4) A proclamation of Cyrus King of Persia, given in II 
Chronicles xxxvi. 22, 23, and in Ezra i. 1-6, is re-read as giving almost 

1 For evidences~of what appear to be delusions of persecution, including thirty- 
nine attempts upon his life, see pp. 136, 137, 182, 191, 211 f, 256, etc. 

2 P. 33, Plates 64, 69. Cf. the Biglow Papers. 


the complete Fernald genealogy down to about forty generations 
beyond the present time (pages 113-116). (5) On page 218, single 
letters selected at random from different lines of a long poem are 
taken to indicate: U.S. A. = United States of America; A.S.W.= 
America's Samuel Washington, etc. (6) On page 266, the following 
is quoted from Milton's L' Allegro: 

Then to the well-trod stage anon: 
If Jonson's learned sock be on, 
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child, 
Warble his native wood-notes wild; 

and this is given as its "true translation:" 

2nd line, I.F. = J.F., the initials of John Firnel, Jon. Son 1st line, 
trod = Dr. (& to Hen.) : (2nd 1, 3 words find) Jean Fernel and son Jon 
= John Fernel or Firnel, who took name of Shakspere. 2 & 3 lines 
hatn: "Jon, son of Jean Fernel, s. Anne and Charles VIII = count 
of eight words to "learned" truth, in "sweetest" the initials of "S.W." 
is "Shakespeare Fernel's child." All four lines as ancient ^Egyptian is 
read: WA (from warble" "Sh" from Shakespeare "i" from "child" n 
from "on" g from "stage" t from "native" on from "notes" and woo 
from "wood" and General George Washington kept his Fernald O seal 
in writing his autograph "Go Washington.") It may interest the 
student to know that in all Skakespeare's works he kept the family his- 
tory, that posterity, as in this may and will profit by if wisely read in 

Here is clear proof that William Shakespeare was identical with 
Samuel Washington and was descended from Dr. Jean Fernel, son 
of Charles VIII I (7) A final instance, among the few where it is 
possible to follow the author's method, will help to convince that the 
simple procedure thus far indicated is really the one used through- 
out in obtaining the author's extraordinary results. On page 79 is 
figured "a coin of Alexander." We are told that thirteen dots that 
appear on a sword-blade there represented, as also on a well-known 
Egyptian drawing that he calls the "Ham Map" (best shown on 
page 278), "represent Stars that foretells U.S.A." Eleven o's are "a 
prophecy that child of line shall write the lines as declared above." 
An A is the pyramid in a lake in Oregon, the garden of Eden; the 
white spot in it "is name pure God." An insignificant curved black 
line " is the so-called serpent Line Mound at Adam's County, Ohio." 



A long thing that looks more like a knobby club than anything else 
is "aline of waters that represents Dighton Rock and River Taunton." 
A short pointed mark or wedge is " a fallen pike point carved on said 
Rock prophesying fall of killed Alexander and Sassan." A T is a 
" monogrammic spelling of Noah and Lamar, Ham, Araat, and turn 
the coin upside down and T symb. declares Lamar Noah and Hm. 
went from Araat and next symb. 'to pyramid Lake, OmaV He 
thus concludes this interesting study of a single coin: 

To be complete some of capital point mentioned would enlarge this 
work, far beyond the intent to more than bring before all, especially 
expert linguists, positive evidence to glean, for the granary store house 
of history, crude sheafs of TRUE unwinnowed perfect grains that if 
well received is to be put into 2nd Edition: the opponents will be, 
are those, set forth in past Encyclise who profit by ignorance and sin. 

We have now enough data to enable us to evaluate the entire work. 
But we must not dismiss it without gathering together and exhibit- 
ing in a manner more systematic than that of the author the many 
references to Dighton Rock. If any should regard them as unworthy 
of further consideration, I wish to urge a study of them as furnishing 
a marvelously perfect reductio ad absurdum of all those methods of 
interpretation that find in the rock's inscriptions evidence of ancient 
Phoenician voyages or Icelandic discoveries of America. We have 
found a full score of rival translations of the inscription. In trying to 
show how baseless they all were, in spite of the plausibility and 
poetic appeal of some of them, I had no hope of discovering so per- 
fect a refutation of them all as we are providentially given here. 
So far as I can see, this one is worthy of acceptance as being fully as 
well supported, fully as complete in detail, fully as attractive in its 
appeal, as any of the others. It is beautifully illustrative of the 
method of all of them carried to its logical and patently unsound ex- 
treme. It has no rival except the sober and simple belief, consonant 
with all genuine evidence, that the characters were inscribed by 
American Indians and possess no significance that has yet been 
discovered or that would be of any very great interest if known. 

In the entire work, without an exhaustively minute study, I find 
forty-four cases of mention of Dighton Rock. 1 The author claims to 

1 Pp. 5, 8, 9, 20 (7), 29, 32, 33 (2), 36, 37, 38, 44, 50, 60, 66, 67, 71, 78, 79 (2), 
82, 87, 88, 108, 124, 127, 133, 135, 162, 166 (2), 241, 259, 267, 278, 369, 398, 427, 




have "made 16 Photographs of Rock fast crumbling into decay," 
but shows none of them. Three times, however, he reproduces the 
Job Gardner drawing (pages 5, 20, 33), once inverted "to show 
one of six readings,'* taken, as he says, "from IT. S. History 1853." 1 
In addition, he gives twice what appears to be an original drawing of 
the shoreward slope of the rock with its markings. 2 He makes men- 
tion also of a "Sea Green Flag" erected on the Rock by Marcus 
Agrippa in 29 B.C., and this is said to be pictured on a coin on page 
20, on a design called a "Roman Mariner Compass" on page 165, 


Drawn by Charles A. Fernald, 1903, from Fernald's Universal 
International Genealogy, 1910, Plate 70 

and on the Copan Statue of Central America on page 134. Page 
20 presents a confused pen-drawn conglomeration of pictures and 
statements, difficult to decipher. So far as they can be read, the 
following refer to Dighton Rock: "Coin and Medal of Augustus 
showing part of Dighton Rock inscription;" "Inscription on Dighton 
Rock;" "8.9.10. show colony of August at Anon, Roman ^Egle raised 
with flag on Dighton Rock." In one corner appear the Gardner 
drawing and the drawing of the shoreward slope; and near them 
can be made out, with much difficulty and some uncertainty: 
" Carefully from 15 photographs, many days of inspection for truth 
only I give the amply proved result of rock at Dighton, Taun- 

1 Very likely an edition of one of Lossing's pictorial histories, since Lossing ia 
the only historian I have yet discovered who uses the Job Gardner drawing. 
1 Pp. 20, 33. See Fig. 5, on this page. 


ton River, Mass. E. end with C. Furnius name written over by 
Marcus Agrippa Lucius Furnius. Washington's name was su- 
premely distinct in first, three or four letters by me seen. I make 
oath of the fact, measurements with repeated examinations of 
ington warranted claim of full name. . . . which with EFR and 
ASB are very old. EHW upper end more recent. The A are 
spelling of Noah and Ham." The text underneath says: "7, Sea 
Green Flag of Dighton Rock, Gift Emp. Augustus to M. Agrippa L. 
Furnius, pictured over waters on Copan Monument. ... 23, In- 
scriptions on Dighton Rock." , 

In a number of other places there are said to be partial depictions 
of the inscription on the rock, or prophecies concerning it. Thus a 
ring found at Ghizeh in a tomb and called the Suphis ring (page 219 
and plate 1087 on page 217) " gives part of inscription on Dighton 
Rock." A part of the "Cosmas Map" (page 60) is interpreted as 
"The inscription Rock at Dighton River, Mass." Plate 178 on page 
87 contains "an ^Egyptian symbol and record of battle at or near 
Dighton Rock, Taunton River, Massachusetts, United States of 
America. There has been found arrow heads and other evidence 
of a great battle." The Moabite Stone and other sources of the 
Fernald Genealogy contain prophecies (pages 71, 78, 88) that 
Christ, Marcus Agrippa, Chia and Bahman will cut their names on 
Dighton Rock, and that Agrippa will raise the Sea Green Flag 

Of the characters on the rock, mention is made of two squares 
" placed cornerwise on Rock with a line showing them returned," 
and of three O's, "ancient names of Trinity," one of which 
was "added by Christ that gives the time he taught at that 
locality." There is no indication given of the translation of any 
other marks on the face, unless an XV, an XXIII, and a combina- 
tion of three letters resembling O Delta Upsilon which he mentions, 
are supposed to occur there. On the shoreward side, we are told 
that there occur, in positions indicated in the drawing, (1) the name 
of Christ included within that of God (a C within a circle) ; (2) the 
name of Washington, "distinct in first three or four letters;" (3) the 
names of Chia and Bahman; (4) the name of Marcus Agrippa over 
that of C. Furnius, or of C. Furnius over Agrippa; (5) the names 
of Noah and Ham; (6) an ancient compass; (7) many initials. 


These statements are scattered over many pages (8, 20, 33, 37, 128, 
162, 166). Finally we are informed (page 427) that "on Dighton 
Rock was photographed by me characters that Marcus Aggrippa 
Lucius Furnius was conversant with as is found in his chiseled in- 
scription containing primitive language that Christ used when he 
conversed in 'tongues.'" 

This is all that we have of interpretation that can be assigned to 
particular characters. But, without further understanding its justi- 
fication, we are given a story which may be assembled from scattered 
passages as follows: 

Marcus Agrippa Lucius Furnius, the great Naval Commander of 
the Emperor Augustus, sailed with five ships from Roma in 29 B.C. 
to Annona (Anon, Omo, Ama, Amo, Augustii, Amarica), where God 
in the Garden of Adn first created woman and man, Ava and Adm, 
and their seed. There, in the primitive language of lines, he engraved 
the fact and date on Dighton Rock, and .on it raised the Sea Green 
Flag given to him by the Emperor; and also wrote his name over that 
of C. Furnius (unless the latter was the later) . He returned from Omo 
28 B.C. with three ships, wife, son and daughter. He left behind his 
son Graecianus Julius Caius Furnius and daughter Isabel, who com- 
menced the Newport Tower before he left, for defence, Temple, and 
Monument. The son did not complete the Tower, but returned to 
Rome with one ship and fifty men. His name and his father's appear 
not only on Dighton Rock, but also in the Monhegan Rock inscrip- 
tion, which dates from 1013 B.C. 

In 15 A.D. Christ sailed from Rome to Anona, and wrote his name 
on Dighton Rock. The following is "translated from Dighton Rock 
inscription" (page 8): 

Theos, I Christ, the son of my Heavenly Father God come up from 
the waters and write my name within that of God on this Rock and 
Engrave hereon for men and the sons of all women and men for I am 
sent by the Father to teach that all who believe in me shall have 
Eternal Light for I AM HE THAT I AM: I the son of God the Father 
and God the Holy One of Israel, sail from Roma XV to Anona the 
land of Omo, Ama where God from Air, Earth, Electricity, Radium, 
Water made woman and man, Ava, Adam in his glorious form and 
image to be children of the Light and Multiply for the glory of God. 
I Christ the son of God to teach you to do the works of my God who 


gave to you his symbolic letters OAT here shown. Returned 10 plus 
10 plus III = 23 to Roma, etc. 

Another translation is given, purporting to be from "an ^Egyptian 
tomb at Eileithyias" (pictured on page 29 and again inverted on 
page 33), and to be also a translation of the inscription on Dighton 
Rock. It is one of "six all true translations" of these two records 
(page 32): 



God the Eternal Mother and Father of Christ the Son to be Born 
from Mary and Joseph: "XV, I, Christ the Messiah, came by Ship 
from Roma, to be known Dighton Rock, Taunton River, Massachu- 
setts: and say I, the Great Spirit, Chisel My Name in the Rock in My 
Father Fa (O=Fa=God name) # On the Rock East of where Marcus 
Aggrippa Lucius Furnius, Driller of the Names of God the Holy One 
and God the Father, and from former raised the Sea Green Flag: by 
Chart and Compass * * I came bringing to the Land of Omo, Ama= 
Annona=Augustii=Amarica, foretold by Moses, the Serpent Mound 
Land, bringing the Sacred Rolls, Squares and Tablets given to Ava and 
Adam and Seven Laws, where Cain was born, given: I taught the 
Antedeluvians from the Squares to be One with Trinity, that willed all 
United in Brotherly Filial Love a Branch of Triune the Manitou God: 
I taught: 10 and 10 and 3 years returned to Roma: Thus my Father 
God ordered and made most perfect, His children, Female and Male, 
Daughters and Sons line to count by the Stars, Completed in Messiah 
Christ and Saviour." This and much more is read in the inscription 
from Dighton Rock, that the tide conceals and reveals twice in twenty- 
four hours; fast disappearing, without (till this hundreds of years past) 
correct translation lost, which, is honestly, carefully presented for 
Justice, verity. 

In 221 A.D., Fnr Chia, daughter of the Emperor of China, a de- 
scendant of Fut, son of Ham, founder of China, and of M. Agrippa, 
with her husband Fna Bahman of Persia, sailed with two vessels 
from Fars (Persia), with Agrippa's Chart Log and Compass (the lat- 
ter shown on the Rock), and finished the Tower Temple at Newport. 
Their names are carved on Dighton Rock. The people were fierce 


and bloodthirsty, and slew Bahman and many of his people. He died 
June 8, 223, and was buried (as was also an infant child born here) 
under the Tower. Their eldest son, F. Sassan, also died on December 
10, and was buried with his armor on, and with his sword and spear, 
near the mouth of the river TSEON or Taunton (a picture of the 
Fall River skeleton is shown on page 8). With another son, Chia 
visited the Serpent Mound, built by Ava and Adam. She died May 
6, 230; and her features are sculptured on the stone at Copan in 
Central America. One son became ancestor of many great nations 
in Anona; a second went to China and was ancestor of Confucius! 

Ideas are peculiar things. In many ways they resemble persons 
and nations. Some of them can live amicably in company with 
others, can give and take, grow and expand, assimilate foreign as well 
as sympathetic material to their own advantage and progress. But 
some, once formed, are fixed and unchangeable in character. They 
can grow only on material that flatters. They are blind to all virtues 
but their own, arrogant and immutable; and in presence of anything 
foreign they cannot compromise or assimilate, but must dominate, 
disregard, or die. Almost all of the detailed attempts at transla- 
tion of Dighton Rock have been of this character; but we have by 
far the most perfect example here. 


We have surveyed now all of the theories, so far at least as we 
have been able to discover mention of them, that have been advanced 
to account for the inscription. This, however, does not constitute 
all of its significant history. The successive changes in ownership 
of the rock are pertinent, and of particular interest are the various 
attempts that have been made to reproduce the characters on it. 

Until toward the close of King Philip's War, Assonet Neck, on 
which the Writing Rock is situated, was the property of the Indians.- 
From an affirmation of 1673, 1 it appears that the Neck was then 
regarded as belonging to one Indian alone, named Piowant, and not 
to the tribe as a whole. The rock itself, however, if any thought was 
given to it at all, may have been claimed by white men; for in 1640 

Plymouth Colony Records, xii. 242. 


the Court at Plymouth granted to the proprietors of Taunton the 
meadow lands or salt marshes of Assonet Neck, 1 and the proprietors 
shortly began to give grants of them to individuals. The records of 
these earliest grants are lost. But before 1680 perhaps long before 
that Henry Hodges owned a salt meadow lying along the edge of 
Assonet Neck, bordering on Taunton river. When he sold it in 1691 
he defined its limits in such a manner as to show that the rock would 
have been included within them. This claim, however, was evidently 
disputed, and Hodges's actual possessions regarded as ceasing to the 
southward of the rock. The rock itself is on the edge of the upland, 
with no intervening salt meadow. Just above it, however, is a small 
cove of meadowish land, and in a deed of division of 1717 the parties 
thereto, owning the adjoining upland, "agree to be at equal charges 
in defending said Cove against all persons layeing any lawful claime 
or demand to the same." 2 From this time on, the cove and neighbor- 
hood remain in enjoyment of the owners of the upland without suc- 
cessful dispute. Hence, although for a time Henry Hodges laid claim 
to the river-border whereon the rock stands, and his predecessors, 
if he had any, in the ownership of this meadow may have done the 
same, yet in the end it was decided that the rock and surrounding 
land were part of the upland, and hence owned by the Indians until 

As early as March 10, 1676, the Colony of New Plymouth looked 
upon Assonet Neck as belonging to it by right of conquest. 3 It was, 
therefore, the owner of Dighton Rock until the 12th of November, 
1677, when the Neck passed into the possession of six proprietors. 4 
These men made an agreement of division on March 23, 1680, and 
the portion which included the rock was set off to James Walker, a 
prominent proprietor of Taunton. 5 In 1690, he deeded his Assonet 
Neck property to two daughters, Hannah and Dorothy, who eventu- 

1 When the Court acquired or assumed the right to dispose of them is not on 
record. Doubtless they were conveyed by Massasoit in the original, now lost, 
Cohannet deed of about 1637, or soon thereafter, for Philip included them in his 
confirmatory deed of 1663. 

2 See our Publications, xviii. 241; Land Records at Taunton, Book 3, p. 287 
(1680); Book 3, p. 174 (1691); Book 7, p. 720 (1717). 

1 Plymouth Colony Records, v. 191, 240. 

4 Plymouth Colony Records of Deeds, Book 5, p. 199. 

8 Land Records at Taunton, Book 3, p. 287. 


ally divided the lot, and Hannah, together with her husband Ben- 
jamin Jones, whom she had married in 1695, became owner of the 
part containing the rock. In 1718 Benjamin Jones left his lands to 
his son Benjamin by will, and in 1720 his widow Hannah confirmed 
the bequest by deed. 1 The next following transfers were: 1768, 
Benjamin Jones by will to his son Abiel; 2 1792, Abiel Jones to David 
Dean; 3 1818, David Dean to his son David; 4 1837, David Dean to his 
five sons, 5 all the rest of whom by sale or division transferred their 
rights in the part in which we are interested to their brother Thomas 
F. Dean. 6 

The events of the next few years have often been related authori- 
tatively and in detail, 7 and it will be necessary to give only a brief 
outline here. In 1857, the violinist, Ole Bull, visited the rock in 
company with Niels Arnzen of Fall River, and expressed a wish to 
secure possession of it for the purpose of presenting it to the Royal 
Society of Northern Antiquaries. Arnzen accordingly purchased 
the* rock and a few rods of adjoining land from Thomas F. Dean, 
and obtained a deed in his own name on July 25, 1857. 8 Subsequently 
Ole Bull neglected to refund the purchase money, and Arnzen, after 
some correspondence with Rafn, made a gift of the property to the 
Royal Society at Copenhagen by deed bearing date of June 23, I860. 9 
The acknowledgment of the donation, signed on May 27, 1861, by 
King Frederick VII, President of the Society, is on record. 10 It was at 
first proposed to remove the rock to Denmark, but the project was 

1 Our Publications, xviii. 286; also Probate Records at Taunton, Book 3, 
p. 469. 

2 Bristol County Probate Records, Book 20, p. 396. 

3 Land Records, Book 71, p. 13. 

4 Probate Records, Book 54, p. 506. 

6 Book 78, p. 117. 

Land Records, Book 166, p. 107; Book 170, pp. 25, 161; Book 220, p. 300. 

7 Nos. 10, 17, 18, 20, 218. See also J. E. Olsen, in Nation (1887), xlv. 395. 

8 Land Records, Book 253, p. 92. The boundaries of the land conveyed with 
the rock in this and subsequent deeds are thus described: "Beginning at a point 
where an east and west line drawn \1\ feet south of the Rock known as the Writ- 
ing or Dighton Rock intersects a line drawn north and south 35 feet east of said 
Rock, thence by said north and south line north 35 feet, thence west to Taunton 
River channel, thence south by said river 35 feet, thence east to the first men- 
tioned bound." 

9 Land Records, Book 253, p. 93. 
10 Book 259, p. 49. 

S x 



abandoned because of war and the death soon afterward of King 
Frederick in 1863 and of Rafn in 1864. 

On December 8, 1876, a complimentary reception and dinner were 
held in Boston in honor of Ole Bull. On this occasion a committee 
was elected whose objects, as announced in a leaflet issued by it on 
January 12, 1877, were: "to take measures to erect a monument in 
honor of the Norsemen. Second, For the protection of the Dighton 
Rock, now in Taunton River." "This committee regard the Dighton 
Rock," the leaflet continues, "whatever its origin, as a valuable his- 
torical relic of American Antiquity and have taken measures to obtain 
the title to it, in order to protect and remove it to Boston. They in- 
vite the deductions of all historic researchers as to the authenticity 
of these inscriptions." The committee became known as the Boston, 
or Norse, or Scandinavian Memorial Club; and at its request in 
February, 1877, the Royal Society in Denmark transferred to it 
the title to the rock, on condition that it be properly cared for. In a 
letter of August 17, 1888, to the secretary of the Old Colony Historj- 
cal Society, Arnzen gives assurance that the transfer actually took 
place and passed through his hands; but "the Boston Memorial 
Club was not a legal organization and therefore could not hold the 
property in a suit at law." It is well known how the activities of the 
committee resulted in the erection of the Leif Erikson statue in 
Boston, unveiled on October 29, 1887. Its project to remove the 
rock to Boston, however, was abandoned. Whether this was due to 
the conviction, officially expressed by the Royal Society of Northern 
Antiquaries in 1877, that the rock was not a Norse monument, or 
to an erroneous belief that arose about that time that the rock was 
not a boulder but a part of the bed-rock, and hence would be difficult 
to remove, we are not informed. The only definite statement that 
I have seen implies the latter. On the back of a stereoscopic view 
taken in 1873 is printed, among other things, the following: "As the 
cleavage was found to run horizontally, the inscription could not be 
split off for removal." 

A curious and unintentionally amusing version of the events nar- 
rated above is given by the Rev. J. P. McLean. It would be diffi- 
cult to crowd into small compass a larger number of errors than occur 
throughout his discussion of Dighton Rock. The portion dealing 
with these events is as follows: "Magnusen's interpretation inspired 


the Royal Society of Antiquarians with so much confidence that it 
purchased the Rock, and made arrangements to remove it to Copen- 
hagen. When this movement was discovered, a public meeting was 
held in Boston to frustrate the attempt. 1 The citizens of that city 
should not feel themselves called upon to express alarm, for the in- 
scription is of Indian origin/' 2 Poor ignorant and hysterical Boston! 
The transfer of the title to the Memorial Club never having taken 
effect legally, and the deed never having been recorded, arrangements 
were made, shortly after the main objects of the committee had been 
attained, for placing the rock in the care of a local organization 
which could most effectually take charge of it. Accordingly, on Janu- 
ary 30, 1889, the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries very fit- 
tingly deeded it to the Old Colony Historical Society of Taunton. 3 
There may it rest! and may some one, with interest in its venerable 
and instructive history, sometime provide means for its effective 
protection against the initial-carving vandals who are intermittently 
at work marring its still insufficiently studied record! 


As an important feature of our task, we have examined the cir- 
cumstances of production and described the appearance of every 
discoverable drawing that aimed to portray the inscription, down 
to those of 1834 and then* reproductions by Rafn. It may be well to 
review the main facts concerning each, and then to continue the 
task in full detail for all traceable depictions of the rock's ap- 
pearance and the characters of human origin upon it, that have not 
yet been described. We shall count as separate drawings or as sepa- 
rate photographs only those made on separate occasions or from 
different chalkings, directly from the rock. Variants and copies of 
these will be mentioned whenever they possess any importance. First 
we list those that have already been described, with mention of the 
Plate in this series of papers in which each has been reproduced and 
where it will be found. 

1 A footnote adds: "It appears that the people of Massachusetts took no 
particular interest in the rock prior to this time." 

2 No. 293. 

Land Records, Book 470, p. 211. 


1. John Danforth Drawing, October, 1680. 

a. Original, probably that of Greenwood's Letter B, in British 
Museum. About 3x8. Plate XV, xviii. 288-289. 

b. Cotton Mather's copy of a, in Wonderful Works, 1690. 
J^ x 3. Reproduced by Mather in his later amplified draw- 
ings. Plates III, VI, xviii. 242, 254-255. 

c. Greenwood's copy of a, 1730, in British Museum. Repro- 
duced by Bushnell, 1908. Plate XI, xviii. 274-275. 

d. Copy of c, in Society of Antiquaries of London, 1732. Re- 
produced by Lort, 1787, and thence by Rafn, 1837; Winsor, 
1889; Mallery, 1893. Plates II, III, xviii. 238-239, 242. 

2. Cotton Mather's Drawing, 1712. Only the lower part new, by an 

unknown draughtsman. This part is always inserted upside- 

a. Original unknown. About lj x 3J. Reproduced in Philo- 
sophical Transactions 1714, in Philosophical Transactions 
Abridged, 1721, Lort, Rafn, Winsor, Mallery; Plates II, IV, 
VI, xviii. 238-239, 246, 254-255. 

b. Mather Broadside, possibly about 1714. Originals in Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society and Yale University Library. 
Plates V, VI, xviii. 250, 254-255. 

3. John Smibert's Drawing, about 1729. Lost. 

4. George Berkeley's Drawing, about 1730. Lost. 

5. Isaac Greenwood's Drawing, 1730. 

a. Probable original, in Greenwood's Letter B, in British Mu- 
seum. 3jx9j. Plate XIV, xviii. 284. 

b. Greenwood's copy of a, in British Museum. Reproduced by 
Bushnell, 1908. Plate XI, xviii. 274-275. 

c. Copy of b, in Society of Antiquaries of London, 1732. Repro- 
duced by Lort, 1787, and thence by Rafn, Winsor, Mallery. 
Plate VII, xviii. 258. 

6. John Winthrop's Drawing, before 1744. Not preserved. 

7. Drawing by Ezra Stiles, June 6, 1767, in Yale University Library. 

7| x 24J. Plate XIX, xix. 50-51. 

Some further drawings of particular figures, of same date, in 
Itinerary in Yale University Library. 

8. Drawing by Ezra Stiles, July 15, 1767, in Yale University Library. 

7f x 12i. Plate XX, xix. 58-59. 

Some further drawings of particular figures, of same date, in 
American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 


9. Drawing by Ezra Stiles, July 16, 1767, in Massachusetts Historical 
Society. 9 x 23. Plate XXI, xix. 66-67. 

10. Ink-impression by Elisha Paddack, August 1767, in American 

Academy of Arts and Sciences, never reproduced; incom- 
plete. 26 x 41. Another small fragment in Stiles's Itiner- 
ary, in Yale University Library. 

11. Stephen Sewall's Drawing, September 13, 1768. 

a. Original, in Peabody Museum. 36 x 120. Plate XXII, xix. 

b. John Winthrop's copy of a. Reproduced by Lort, 1787, and 
thence (unless from e) by Rafn, Winsor, Mallery. Plates II, 
XXII, XXXI, xviii. 238-239, xix. 74-75, 146-147. 

c. Gebelin's copy, 1781. Reproduced in L'Independent of Fall 
River, July 14, 1915. Plate XXIII, xix. 82-83. 

d. Dammartin's copy of c. Plates XXIII, XXXI, xix. 82-83, 

e. Hale's copy of a, 1834: see no. 217. Copy of this, sent by 
Webb to Rafn, may have been latter's source. 

12. Ink-Impression by James Winthrop, August 4, 1788. 

a. Original not discoverable. About 48 x 120 probably. 

b. Pantographic copy of a by Winthrop, published in Memoirs 
of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1804. Repro- 
duced by Warden 1825, Rafn, Roux de Rochelle 1853, Win- 
sor, Mallery. Plate XXIV, xix. 90-91. 

c. Copy of alphabetical characters of b, by Samuel Harris, 
about 1807. Plate XXVII, xix. 114. 

13. Drawing by Ezra Stiles, October 3, 1788. Incomplete; not dis- 


14. Baylies Drawing, by William Baylies, John Smith, Samuel West, 

Joseph Gooding, and possibly William Baylies Jr., about 
July 15, 1789. 

a. Dr. Baylies's copy, sent to American Academy of Arts and 
Sciences. Not discoverable. 

b. Smith-Stiles copy, in Massachusetts Historical Society. 
12 x 22. Plate XXV, xix. 98-99. 

c. Smith-Upham copy, in Massachusetts Historical Society. 
7J^ x 19. Plate XXV, xix. 98-99. 

d. Joseph Gooding copy, in possession of heirs of Sophia F. 
Brown. 7^ x 20%- Plate XXVI, xix. 106-107. 

e. Webb copy, made probably from d in February, 1830, known 
as "Dr. Baylies and Mr. Goodwin's 1790," published by 


Rafn, 1837. Reproduced by Aall, 1838; Schoolcraft, 1851 
(combined with 1837 drawing) ; Winsor, Mallery. Plates II, 
XXVI, xviii. 238-239, xix. 106-107. 

15. Edward A. Kendall's Painting and Engraving, 1807. 

a. Oil Painting, in Peabody Museum. 17 J x 26 J. Plate 

XXVIII, xix. 122-123. 

b. Engraving after a. 9j x 23. Published in Memoirs of 
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1809. Plate 

XXIX, xix. 130-131. 

c. Misleading copy of b, published by Rafn, 1837, and thence 
in Dansk Kunstblad, 1837; Winsor, Mallery. Plate II, 
xviii. 238-239. 

16. Lithograph by Job Gardner, 1812. 

a. Original not discoverable. 

b. Dissected copy by Ira Hill, 1831. Plate XXX (with modi- 
fications), xix. 138-139. 

c. Copy published by Rafn, 1837, thence by Lossing, 1850 
(thence by Fernald, 1910); S. A. Drake, 1875; Winsor, Mal- 
lery. Plate XXX, xix. 138-139. 

17. Rhode Island Historical Society View or Sketch, by J. R. Bartlett, 

December, 1834. 

a. Original, in Royal Library, Copenhagen. 9xllf, Plate 
XXXIII, xx. 298-299. 

b. Rafn's amended and amplified copy, published by Rafn 
1837. For reproductions, see above, page 302. Plate 

XXXIII, xx. 298-299. 

18. Rhode Island Historical Society's Drawing, by a committee of the 

society, about September 4 (retouched December 11), 1834. 

a. Original, in Royal Library, Copenhagen. 15 x 35. Plate 

XXXIV, xx. 308-309. 

b. Rafn's copy with additions, published by Rafn 1837. For 
reproductions see above, page 302. Plate XXXIV, xx. 308. 

We shall now proceed to gather together the facts concerning later 
productions, so far as they have come to my notice. Most of them 
are of some public importance, through having been published or 
placed on sale; but a few are included which have never become thus 
known. One is the best photograph ever secured, taken without 
preliminary chalking. Aside from this one, however, no attempt has 
been made to assemble photographs that throw no light on the ques- 
tion as to what are the artificial lines that exist, or are interpreted to 


exist, on the rock. It is not improbable that some published draw- 
ings have been overlooked. This must certainly be true of some 
illustrations that are merely copies of those that we have found. 
And there is no question that many times the rock has been sketched, 
or its characters chalked and photographed, and the result not come 
to our attention. One correspondent who lived within sight of the 
rock for sixteen years writes of often having taken inquirers to see 
it, who chalked the markings and photographed them. 

19. Drawing by Edward E. Hale, July 31, 1839. Not preserved. 

In his Diary, Dr. Hale gives a detailed and interesting account of 
his visit to Dighton Rock on the date above mentioned. 1 Two years 
earlier, as an undergraduate at Harvard, he was engaged in assem- 
bling materials for an intended lecture on American antiquities, 
"dilating principally on Dighton rock, on which I consider myself 
au fait'," and although I have discovered no indication that he de- 
livered the proposed lecture, or ever wrote any extended paper on 
the rock, yet there are numerous evidences that his interest in it 
continued throughout his life. In the manuscript Diary there is a 
small crudely drawn picture of the "animal" of the rock, with the 
letters OX above it, which he remarks is the nearest he could see to 
the pretended Norse inscription; and he expresses as his own view 
the probability that the Indians cut the marks after the introduction 
of metal tools, obtained possibly from the Northmen. He says 
further, however, that he "took a copy" of the inscription; but in a 
letter to S. F. Haven on October 18, 1864, he remarks that this 
drawing "has long since disappeared." 2 Hale's mention of the "in- 
scription on the North end of the rock," which is so rarely visible, 
should again be noted. 3 

20. Drawing by John W. Barber, 1839. Figure 6, xx. 379. 

This drawing was published in Barber's Historical Collections of 
Massachusetts, page 117. In his preface he says that "the drawings 
for the numerous engravings interspersed throughout the book were, 
with few exceptions, taken on the spot by the author of this work." 
The dotted line in the drawing indicates, according to the author, 
the level to which the rock is generally covered at high water. As a 

1 Nos. 210, 214-216. J No. 211. 

1 See p. 406, below. 


matter of fact, the high-water level is "generally" much higher. On 
the same page is another cut, showing the rock as seen from the op- 
posite side of the river, with a wide stretch of shore visible on either 
side of it. 

This drawing of the inscription has hitherto been reproduced, 
apparently, only by Nason. 1 


Drawn by John W. Barber, 1839, from Barber's Historical Collections of 
Massachusetts, p. 117 

21. Daguerreotype of 1840. Not discoverable. 

In 1854 Dr. Webb claimed 2 that he had in his possession a daguer- 
reotype of Dighton Rock taken in 1840. No trace of it can now be 
discovered. The date assigned, though early, is perfectly possible. 3 

1 No. 324, evidently adapted from Barber. 

2 No. 482. 

3 I am indebted to Mr. Matthews for the following note: 

A letter from S. F. B. Morse dated Paris, March 19, 1839, was printed in 
Niles' Register of April 27th (Ivi. 134). The issue of September 21 stated that 
the secret of the Daguerre "will be known here when the British Queen arrives," 
the arrival of that vessel at New York being announced in the same issue; 
and the issue of September 28 contained an extract disclosing the secret from 
the London Globe of August 23 (Ivi. 52, 64, 73). What is described as "the first 
attempt" was "a photographic plate of the central high school, taken by Joseph 
Sexton" in Philadelphia (Ivii. 172). In the issue of January 11, 1840, appeared 
this item: 

" The Daguerreotype. The New York Observer has been favored with the 
sight of a large number of pictures from a collection of the exquisitely beautiful 


There is no other evidence for it or description of it than the brief 
statement noted. 

22. Drawing by the Chevalier Friedrichsthal, 1840. Not discoverable. 

Evidence for this drawing is contained in a manuscript letter, 1 the 
writer saying that he made a sketch of the rock, and calling attention 
to the animal and the joining characters XV. He also made a second 
sketch, which "represents the almost extinguished remainders of 
probably as large an inscription as that on the Dydonrock, obliterated 
however by a much greater reaction of the salt water, being on a 
rock of nearly horizontal position, on the lowest part of the beach." 

results of this wonderful discovery, just arrived from Paris. . . . The collec- 
tion is in the hand of M. Gourraud, a gentleman of taste, who arrived in the 
steam packet British Queen" (Ivii. 312). 

The issue of May 9 announced that "likenesses from the human face have 
been successfully taken by it" in Philadelphia; and the issue of May 30 stated 
that Robert Cornelius of Philadelphia "is now engaged, most successfully in 
making miniature liknesses, by means of the process designed by Mons. Da- 
guerre" (Iviii. 160, 208). 

In March, 1840, M. Gouraud visited Boston, where his "collection of photo- 
genic drawings" was exhibited privately on March 6, and publicly from March 
11 to April 8. He also delivered lectures at the Masonic Temple on March 27, 
April 3 and 4, at the first of which he took "a beautiful view of Park Street, 
with the intervening trees, and part of the Common, covered with snow," and 
at the second "a fine view of the State House, from a front window of the 
Temple" (Boston Advertiser, March 7, p. 2/2; March 28, p. 2/4; April 4, p. 
2/4). A communication from him was printed in the issue of March 26 (p. 
2/2-3), and reprinted at the end of a 16-page pamphlet published in Boston the 
same year entitled "Description of the Daguerreotype Process, or a Summary 
of M. Gouraud's Public Lectures, according to the Principles of M. Daguerre. 
With a Description of a provisory Method for taking Human Portraits." This 
concludes with the words, "I will now say . . . that by adopting a confidential 
communication which I have received from M. D. G., the French Professor at 
Cambridge, since I arrived in Boston, I think it is very probable that we shall 
succeed in obtaining a Daguerreotype portrait in much less time than by the 
process above described." "M. D. G., the French Professor at Cambridge," 
was Anatole de Goy, Instructor (not Professor) in French in 1840-1841. 

Finally, in the Boston Advertiser of April 6, 1840 (p. 3/2), appeared an ad- 
vertisement of G. W. Prosch of 140 Nassau Street, New York, beginning: "The 
Daguerreotype apparatus of improved construction warranted to be correct, 
and better adapted to the purpose than the French, of which any reasonable 
person can be satisfied upon inspection. It is more portable and less expensive 
manufactured and for sale by the subscriber." 

1 No. 178. 


This last mentioned rock is the well-known "slab." The sketches 
have not been preserved with the letter. 

Friedrichsthal was attached to the Austrian legation at Washing- 
ton. His visit to " Dydonrock " was made, he says, in company 
with Dr. Howe possibly Samuel Gridley Howe, who in July, 1840, 
"made a journey to the Middle West ... in the interests of 
the blind." 1 

23. Drawing of the alleged Roman or English letters in the central 
part of the inscription, by Henry R. Schoolcraft, August, 1847. Plate 
XXXV, xx. 316. 

The circumstances of the making of this drawing have already been 
described, on page 334 above. The plate on which we present it 
shows also the combination of the 1789 and 1837 drawings which 
Schoolcraft published in 1851, and to both of which he naturally 
assigned slightly erroneous dates. 

24. Daguerreotype by Captain Seth Eastman and a "professed da- 
guerreotypist of Taunton," 1853. Plate XXXVI, xx. 324. 

The circumstances under which this, the first photographic repre- 
sentation of the rock that has been preserved, were made, and the 
conclusions to which he was led, are related by Schoolcraft: 

Having visited the locality of the Dighton Rock and examined the 
inscription, in 1847, its true character, as an example of the ideographic 
system of the Indians, was clearly revealed to my mind. I had no hesi- 
tation in adopting an interpretation of it made in 1837 [1839] by an 
Algonquin pictographist, called Chingwauk, in which he determined it 
to be their memorial of an ancient Indian battle. It was perceived that 
no exact representation of it had ever been made, and no new attempt 
to make one was attempted, being without proper apparatus; certain 
discrepancies were pointed out in Part I., Plate 36, of this work. These, 
after a lapse of six years, are indicated in a daguerreotyped view of the 
inscription, taken during the summer of the present year (1853). By 
this process of transferring the original inscription from the rock, it is 
shown to be a uniform piece of Indian pictography. A professed da- 
guerreotypist from Taunton attended the artist (Capt. E.) on this 
occasion. . . . The lines were traced with chalk, with great care and 
labor, preserving their original width. On applying the instrument to 

1 L. E. Richards, Letters and Journals of S. G. Howe, ii. 102. 


the surface, the impression herewith presented was given. [Previously 
depicted resemblances to Roman letters disappear; moreover] no trace 
appears, or could be found by the several searchers, of the assumed 
Runic letter Thor, which holds a place on former copies. Rock in- 
scriptions of a similar character have, within a few years, been found 
in other parts of the country, which denotes the prevalence of this 
system among the aboriginal tribes, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. 
It is more peculiarly an Algonquin trait, and the inscriptions are called 
by them Muzzinabiks, or rock-teachings. 1 

At least two daguerreotypes were made on this occasion. One of 
them came into possession of the Rev. Mortimer Blake, who moved 
to Taunton about 1856, was later owned by his son, the late Pro- 
fessor Lucien I. Blake, and was recently presented by the latter's 
brother, Percy M. Blake, to the Massachusetts Historical Society. 
The picture is of course mirror-wise reversed. It shows a man, 
probably Captain Eastman, coatless and wearing a tall hat, reclining 
on the rock, and therein differs from the one reproduced in School- 
craft's plate. The former was evidently taken first, then a few un- 
important lines were added to the chalking, the camera was moved a 
little further upstream, Captain Eastman assumed a different posi- 
tion on the rock, and the second exposure was made. In utilizing 
the latter for Schoolcraft's illustration, it was in some manner again 
reversed into a correct spatial depiction. The daguerreotype itself 
is not sufficiently clear to show the condition of the surface of the 
rock at the time it was taken, of its features of texture, of scaling, 
of cracks, and the like, which might be of value to us in a study of the 
much debated question of the rapidity with which it is wearing away. 
Nothing shows with any clearness except the chalked lines. Conse- 
quently our reproduction is from the much clearer and spatially 
correct engraving, and not from the original daguerreotype. 

This Eastman depiction of the inscription has been the one chosen 
for purposes of illustration by Bryant and Gay, 1876; F. S. Drake, 
1884; McLean, 1892; Mallery, 1893 (page 86); Andrews, 1894. 

25. Lithograph by George A. Shove, 1864. 6f x 9j inches. Plate 
XXXVII, xx. 332. 

George A. Shove was a resident of Dighton, a descendant of the 
Rev. George Shove, minister of Taunton, who in 1677 became one 
1 No. 402. 






of the six purchasers and original proprietors of Assonet Neck. He 
was born about 1824, and was lame from his childhood. He held 
many responsible positions in town offices, and for a time was local 
postmaster. He was ingenious with tools, possessed a fair degree 
of skill as an artist, and had some gift as a writer. He died in 1890. 
His lithograph makes no pretence at a full and accurate repre- 
sentation of the inscription, being intended evidently only to give a 
general idea of it and of the rock in its surroundings. There is only 
one figure in the sketchily traced inscription that is at all unusual 
the double parallelogram with parallel cross-lines to the right of the 
picture of the animal. Besides the lithograph, Shove made at least 
one other drawing of the inscription that I have seen, which shows it 
in an even more simple and uninstructive manner. He also pro- 
duced many paintings, practically all alike except that one set 
exhibited spring-time foliage and the other that of autumn, and 
practically all of them duplicates of the lithograph, including the 
inscription. A painting by him of the Landing of the Norsemen hangs 
on the walls of the Old Colony Historical Society. 

26. Drawings by Edward Seager, 1864. 47 x 72 inches. Plate 
XXXVIII, xx. 342. 

In 1864 Commodore George S. Blake, Superintendent of the 
United States Naval Academy at Newport, presented to the American 
Antiquarian Society these two drawings, which were made by 
Edward Seager, Professor of Drawing and Draughting at the 
Academy, assisted by the Rev. Charles R. Hale, Chaplain and 
Acting Assistant Professor of Mathematics. In March, 1865, 
Commodore Blake presented also to the society Mr. Hale's Essay on 
the Dighton Rock, bearing the date January 31st, 1865. Relative 
to the drawings, it speaks of two visits having been made, on the 
first of which the tide was unfavorable. "On a second visit, we had 
ample time, and every circumstance of light &c favoring us. From 
the careful sketches taken by us, Mr. Seager has since made the 
beautiful and elaborate pencil and India Ink drawings laid before 

One of the drawings shows the rock and its surroundings, the 
other the rock alone, with its inscription. Winsor regards this as 
"the most careful drawing of late years;" and H. Cabot Lodge calls 


it "probably the best drawing ever made." Its particular merit is 
the same as that of Kendall's painting and engraving, of endeavoring 
to present the actual appearance of the rock to the eye, without 
emphasis and interpretation of its lines, with all its actual faintness 
and uncertainty. Kendall's, I think, is more successful in this than 
Seager's. But of course a faithful photograph of the unchalked 
surface, better than any that had been possible up to Seager's time, 
would be a vast improvement over the method employed by these 
two men. The possessor of a drawing, however faithful, can see the 
inscription in only the one way, as the artist himself saw it. A perfect 
photograph enables its owner to engage in repeated and protracted 
study of the surface, to see constantly new things in it, to make his 
own interpretations exactly as if he were examining the rock itself. 
An approach toward such a photograph was the next representation 
of the inscription to appear. 

27. Burgess-Folsom Photograph, by George C. Burgess and Augus- 
tine H. Folsom, July 1868. 9 x 13 inches, and stereoscopic. Plate I, 
xviii. 234-235. 

The words concluding the description of number 26 are OUT chief 
comment on this valuable photograph. Several times in these papers 
I have called it the best, most trustworthy and most useful presenta- 
tion of the inscription that we possess. This statement now has to 
be withdrawn because since it was written I have had the good 
fortune to discover a recently made one that is much better. 1 This 
fact, however, does not detract from the merit of the one under dis- 
cussion, nor does it destroy its usefulness. In matters of dispute in 
regard to what characters are on the rock, all earlier depictions enable 
us to say only that some one did or did not see them there; but this 
is the first made of all depictions that makes it possible for us to 
study out the matter for ourselves and arrive at an independent 
opinion. While this purpose can be served to even better advantage 
by the later photograph, yet the use of the two, taken with an interval 
of forty years between them and in somewhat different conditions of 
lighting, is helpful. Comparison of the two throws light on the 
question as to the rapidity of erosion. In the event of the propound- 
ing of a new theory concerning the shape and the meaning of the 

1 See number 39, p. 394, below. 


markings, decision based on the one may be confirmed by aid of 
the other, and appeal to the earlier of them alone can settle decisively 
any suspicion as to recent introduction or alteration of lines. No 
drawing possesses any of these advantages, naturally. But it is also 
true that the photographs based on chalking do not possess them 
either. The chalking not only prevents an independent judgment as 
to whether the lines chalked are really there, but also in most cases 
obscures the independent seeing of lines that have not been chalked. 
We are fortunate, then, in having these two unbiased photographs, 
and in still possessing the earlier as well as the later. 

At first there was little to be learned concerning the production 
of this photograph. The Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society mentioned the fact that on February 10, 1869, a stereoscopic 
photograph was presented to the Society by George C. Burgess of 
Dighton. The Society still possesses not only this stereoscopic view, 
the dedicatory writing on which shows that it was taken by Augustine 
H. Folsom, a photographer of Roxbury and Boston, but also a large 
photograph, measuring 9 by 13 inches, presented by Mr. Burgess on 
December 24, 1868. Duplicates of the latter I have found also in 
the Gilbert Museum at Amherst College and in the Rhode Island 
Historical Society. The latter possesses the stereoscopic form also. 
The two halves of the stereoscopic arrangement are identical, instead 
of having the typical and desirable difference necessary for produc- 
tion of the full stereoscopic effect. 

Mr. Burgess was a graduate of Harvard of the class of 1858, after 
that a school-teacher in Dighton. In 1868, however, though living 
in Dighton, he went daily to Boston, where he was in charge of the 
salesrooms of the Dighton Furniture Company. He is said to have 
once delivered a lecture on Dighton Rock. Mr. Folsom I was for- 
tunate enough to discover in 1916 still carrying on his photographic 
business. From two letters that I received from him I select the 
following details : 

I am the same A. H. Folsom who took the photograph. I think you 
are right about the time being 1868. It was only a short time after 
going into business, and I started out in August, 1865. I took the view 
in summer; I think it must have been in July or thereabouts, as I re- 
member having some fine strawberries, picked in Dighton, when I had 
dinner with Mr. Burgess. I remember very distinctly the circum- 


stances. Mr. Burgess had the rock scrubbed off with scrubbing brush 
and sea water to remove the slime and seaweed that had grown on it. 
There was no chalking or working it up at the time that I remember. 
As to the original markings being cleaned out with a stone or sharp in- 
strument, I do not know; but when I got there, the rock was all ready 
for me, and I don't remember of the lines looking fresh at all. I had 
to make the original pictures at low tide, and even then I stood knee 
deep in the water to get the proper distance. I can remember all about 
it as plainly as if it were yesterday, and I am now 71 years old and still 
in the business. 

After I made the first pictures for Mr. Burgess, he ordered a thou- 
sand stereo-views, and as there were so many prints to be made and 
only one negative, I copied several negatives I think from the larger 
picture. As they were so much smaller and indistinct, my impression 
is that I took a large print and traced out the "inscriptions" with white 
ink on it, so that it would copy plainer. I really don't remember whether 
I took any double stereos or not at that time. I had a stereo camera in 
1868 and made many views with it, but seldom carried but one size on 
a trip, usually the larger size. 

In case of the stereo-views that I have seen, it is clear that Mr. 
Folsom did not emphasize the lines with white ink, and that he did 
not use his stereo camera. I think it is furthermore safe to assume 
that the lines on the rock were not even lightly chalked or otherwise 
freshened into more than normal visibility. 

28. Davis-Gardner Stereoscopic View, by Captain Nathan S. Davis 
and William B. Gardner, 1873. Plate XXXIX, xx. 352. 

This photograph and the next following caused me a great deal of 
uncertainty and confusion for a considerable period, which led to 
much correspondence and investigation before the facts were sifted 
out. Partly through positive and sometimes conflicting statements 
in the literature, partly through natural inference from such state- 
ments, and partly through hints and rumors and facts communicated 
by correspondents, I have had to entertain the possibility that 
photographs had been made by twelve distinct persons: Captain 
J. W. D. Hall, T. W. Higginson, L. I. Blake, A. M. Harrison, an 
unnamed "agent of the U. S. government" whose photograph of the 
rock was on sale by the Scandinavian Memorial Committee, George 
M. Young, Elisha Slade, an unknown person to whom was due a cut 


published by Loffler, the Rev. George W. Penniman, Captain Nathan 
S. Davis, William E. C. Deane, and William B. Gardner. My first 
start toward a successful solution of the tangle resulted from an 
endeavor to discover the author of an entirely different photograph. 
In the end, all the facts and rumors settled down into the certainty 
that there were but two occasions involved, each with its own separate 
whitening of the lines on the rock, and that all the photographs in the 
tentative list were made from either the one or the other of these 
two interpretations of the lines, or through re-photographing one of 
the photographs so produced. 

I have seen but two photographs, both of them stereoscopic, made 
on the earlier of the two occasions. One of them is in the Harvard 
College Library, the other in the Rhode Island Historical Society. 
Captain Nathan S. Davis of Somerset has furnished me with the 
facts concerning it: 

I cannot be sure of the year when this photograph was made, but 
would rather place it at 73 or 74 than later. I was postmaster of 
Somerset and much interested in stereoscopic work. William B. Gard- 
ner was a travelling photographer, going with his covered wagon as a 
darkroom from town to town making local views. He drifted in to 
Somerset and came to see me as the one most likely to be of use to him. 
I mentioned the Dighton Rock, of which he knew nothing previously. 
We went to the rock together with the fixed purpose of making the 
best and most nearly perfect photograph of it that could be made; and 
we had plenty of time at our disposal. No one else was present. After 
washing the written face, I found that a small pointed stone held like a 
pencil in my fingers would go to the bottom of the lines cleaning them 
out and leaving a mark behind much resembling chalk; but not a bit of 
chalk was used. We made several exposures. Gardner made photo- 
graphs and mounted them on cards with his name on them. As I had 
one or more of the original negatives, some little later I made prints 
and mounted them on cards bearing my name. Somewhere near the 
time of making this photograph Gardner moved his family here. 

One of the two known copies mentioned above bears on the margin 
of the face Gardner's name with address given as Sherborn, Mass., 
and the printed legend : " Runic Inscription on Dighton Rock." The 
other lacks these features, but has on the back a long printed descrip- 
tion attributing the inscription to the Norsemen. Mr. Gardner's 


daughter informs me that he moved from Sherborn to Somerset some- 
time between April and June in 1874. Since the printed matter on 
the mounts indicates that he was still living in Sherborn when he 
took it, and since Davis confirms the fact that he had not yet moved 
to Somerset, it seems probable that it was in 1873 rather than in 1874 
that this event occurred. 

I know of no former reproductions of this photograph in the litera- 
ture of the rock. It is here presented in its original form and size, 
in order that our plates may include one view of the rock that may 
be used to give the stereoscopic effect. 

9. Harrison-Gardner Photograph, by Captain A. M. Harrison and 
William B. Gardner, about September 15, 1875. Plate XL, 
xx. 362. 

a. Stereoscopic View of the rock alone. 

b. Stereoscopic View including five persons. 

c. 8x11 Photograph. 

d. 4 x 5 copy from the original by William E. C. Deane, about 

e. 5 x 8 copy from the original by George M. Young, 1890. 

This was made under direction of Captain A. M. Harrison of the 
United States Coast Survey, who at the time was engaged in mak- 
ing a survey of Taunton River. I have seen several complimentary 
copies signed by Harrison bearing date September 15, 1875; hence it 
was taken shortly before that date, unless the date indicates the time 
of taking instead of that of presentation. A number of persons par- 
ticipated in the process. One of them was Captain Harrison himself, 
who signed a statement that has been printed on many of the cards 
on which these photographs were mounted: 

Having been present when the above picture was taken, I can certify 
that no hieroglyphic marks were " chalked " which were not clear to the 
eye, (though too obscure to copy plainly upon the negative,) and that 
special care was taken to avoid making any line more distinct where 
there was the least room for doubt. I think that there can be no ques- 
tion that there were originally many more characters cut upon the 
Rock than appear in the photograph, particularly at the base, where it 
has been for centuries exposed to the action of the tides. 

In addition to this statement, the printed matter on the mounts 
included a lengthy exposition by Gardner of the Norse origin and 


Rafn's translation, similar to the one that he used on the Davis- 
Gardner version. 

In a letter of December 17, 1875, from Elisha Slade of Somerset 
to R. B. Anderson, the assertion is again made that "no chalking 
was made where the cutting in the rock was not plainly visible to the 
eye, and many markings partly obscure were not touched. ' ' 1 Anderson 
is authority for the statement that Captain Harrison was preparing 
a History of the Northmen. Apparently this has never appeared. 
He did, however, report to the United States Coast Survey concerning 
his topographical work, and "the immediate vicinity of Dighton 
Rock was also mapped separately on a large scale, and such par- 
ticulars concerning it as Mr. Harrison was able to gather by incidental 
research were embodied in a separate paper and filed in the office." 2 
This separate paper cannot now be discovered, either in the files of 
the Survey, or in the Smithsonian Institution, or in the Library of 

The date of this photograph is often given wrongly as 1876. The 
only copy of the plain stereoscopic view that I have seen is in the 
Harvard College Library. Of the other stereoscopic view I know only 
through a copy loaned to me by Edward F. Waldron of Dighton. 
This shows five men grouped about the rock, and Mr. Elisha Slade 
informs me that, in order from left to right, they are: "Beoni Brad- 
bury, William B. French, A. M. Harrison, Elisha Slade, and Mr. 
Lockwood. All but myself were of the U. S. Coast Survey, Mr. 
Harrison in charge of the party. The latter died in 1880." It is 
clearly from this stereoscopic photograph that was derived a small cut, 
the source of which long puzzled me, used by Ernst Loffler in his 
paper on the Vineland Excursions. The large photograph has doubt- 
less been more widely distributed than any other depiction of the 
inscription. It has been used as the basis of illustrations by T. W. 
Higginson, 1882; Old Colony Historical Society (in a leaflet on the 
rock, after Higginson); George A. Shove, 1883; F. S. Drake, 1885; 
Baxter, 1889; William A. Slade, 1898; Harper's Encyclopaedia of 
United States History, 1901; E. Hitchcock, 1904; K. M. Abbott, 
1904; Avery, 1904. 

The large Harrison-Gardner photograph was itself photographed, 

Nos. 419, 420. No. 222. 


in 4 by 5 size, probably at some time between 1882 and 1884, by 
William E. C. Deane, now of Taunton. I have a letter from him in 
which he says: "I borrowed a picture from Capt. Davis, copied it, 
and sold the pictures at Dighton Rock Park." The mounts bore a 
statement about its runic character, similar to that used by Gardner. 
In his paper prepared for the Peoria Scientific Association in 
October, 1890, the late George M. Young 1 of Boston claimed to have 
photographed the rock; and he sent a copy of the photograph to the 
Association. The Peoria Public Library kindly loaned me the photo- 
graph for examination. It is identical, except in size, with the 
Harrison-Gardner production, and could have been secured only from 
the same chalking. I was also presented with a copy of the same 
photograph by Mr. Young himself in 1916. On my remarking that 
it looked much like the Gardner photograph of 1875, he assured me 
that he took it himself in 1890, and that the rock was not chalked. 
Evidently he was mistaken in both statements. I think it very 
probable that he actually visited Dighton in 1890, possibly took 
some amateur pictures of the rock, secured also a Harrison-Gardner 
photograph, copied it on a 5 by 8 plate, and used that afterwards as 
his own photograph, very likely forgetting the circumstances of its 
production. It is another illustration of the errors so many of which 
have been carelessly and unintentionally made concerning our rock, 
and another example of an alleged independent reproduction traced 
to its actual source. 

30. Plaster Cast by Lucien I. Blake, 1876. Plate XLI, xx. 372. 

In an earlier paper 2 the evidence was examined as to the existence 
of other alleged casts, and the conclusion was reached that, although 
probably at least one other had been attempted, yet otherwise the 
reports were mistaken. Concerning this one, which is now in the 
Gilbert Museum at Amherst College, the late Professor Blake wrote 
to me in 1916: 

I took the plaster cast of the rock myself in the summer of 1876, 
when I was a Junior in Amherst College. The exact date I do not re- 

1 In 1890, Mr. Young was proprietor of a crockery and glassware store. Later 
directories list him as justice of peace and notary. On his business cards he 
also called himself a " Compiler and Special Writer." He died January 15, 1918. 

2 Our Publications, xix. 63. See also no. 219. 


call. I was assisted by Louis B. Dean of Taunton, then a Sophomore 
at Harvard, since deceased. We rowed down the river from Taunton 
with a barrel of plaster of Paris and took the cast at four o'clock one 
morning, when the tide was out, after cleaning and oiling the face of 
the rock. We had to take seven sectional plates to get the whole sur- 
face. From these reliefs, I made afterwards the cast now at Amherst. 

As a boy I had frequently visited the rock and felt that a coffer dam 
was impracticable on account of the ice and tides covering the rock; 
and I remember suggesting that the rock be taken up bodily and put 
in some museum. I then found that it is not a boulder, but an exposed 
part of a ledge, and there were no funds available for such expensive 
work as slicing off a ledge. 

A photograph of the cast was taken in February, 1894, and is 
preserved in the manuscript catalogue of the Gilbert Museum. It is 
this which is reproduced in our plate. It shows clearly that the cast 
was very successful, exhibiting with much accuracy the details of 
texture of the rock's surface as well as the lines cut into it. If Kendall 
was right in his belief that some of the lines of the inscription are now 
observable rather through differences in coloring on the rock itself 
than through depression of the surface, these of course do not leave 
any traces on the cast. The general surface of the cast has been 
colored a uniform slate or drab, and on it the prominent lines have 
been emphasized by means of a bluish paint. 

31. Photograph by Frank S. Davis, September 11, 1893. Plate 
XLII, xx. 382. 

The date is marked on the rock. See number 33. 

32. Photograph by Frank S. Davis, January 27, 1894. Plate XLII, 
xx. 382. 

The date is marked on a wooden slab placed by the side of the 
rock. See number 33. 

33. Photograph by Frank S. Davis, early in 1894. Plate XLIII, 
xx. 392. 

This is another photograph whose authorship was difficult to dis- 
cover. A copy of it in possession of Mr. William Carnoe of Freetown 
was the first representation of the rock I had ever seen, except an 
illustration in some history, probably Lossing's, when I was a boy. 


He could not tell me who made it. Later I found it reproduced as 
an illustration to Cyrus Thomas's account of Dighton Rock in 
Hodge's Handbook of American Indians, 1907, and again accompany- 
ing a paper describing the rock by William H. Holmes in 1916. 
Successive letters were written to persons in Washington, in Dighton, 
in California and in Florida in following out the clues; and then I 
at last discovered that my nearest neighbor on Assonet Neck was 
mother of the artist and the far-flung search ended almost at my 

Mr. Davis, who now lives in Florida, wrote to me all that he could 
remember about these three photographs: 

One of them is dated September 11, 1893; the other two were taken 
the winter following. I do not remember to have copied any previous 
photographs or drawings in making my markings on the rock. Going 
back to my school days, I can remember going to the rock and taking 
chalk and marking in the lines. There would be a number of us and we 
would all work at it and talk about what they were put there for. So 
you see I had seen the lines marked in a good many times. Then in 
after years I got a camera and got quite interested in taking pictures. 
One of the photographs I made for some one who was writing a book 
at that time, but cannot remember the name of the writer or that of 
the book. 1 I expect that I marked quite a few lines on the rock which 
were never put on by the maker; also that there were quite a few marks 
put on by the maker which I did not mark in. The rock was so worn 
away that it was very hard to trace the markings, and not knowing 
what the figures were one had to use his own ideas in connecting the 
markings. You will notice the one taken in September is not as com- 
plete as the one taken later; possibly it is nearer right than the one 
taken the following winter which I tried to fill in more. The marks low 
down on the photo I do not think amount to much. 

The three photographs here listed are given separate numbers 
because they show separate chalkings. The first of them exists in 
two varieties, the one taken from a nearer point than the other. 
The last has three varieties: the one that has been published in the 
two cases mentioned above; a similar one taken from a slightly differ- 
ent position; and a third, the one here reproduced, taken after a few 
further chalk-marks had been added to the rock. 

1 It may have been C. Thomas's account of the rock in Hodge's Handbook. 






34. Post-Card issued by Charles W. Chace, about 1900. Plate 
XLIII, xx. 392. 

Mr. Chace, who was born in Dighton, has long had these postal 
cards for sale at his place of business in Taunton. Since about 1905, 
they have been issued in colors. Concerning the photograph from 
which they were made, he can tell me only that it was made "about 
fifteen years ago by a young man who worked in a wheelwright shop 
at Westville; but he left for parts unknown several years ago." 

35. Old Colony Historical Society's Photograph, June, 1902. Plate 
XLIV, xx. 402. 

The late James E. Seaver, secretary of the society, informed me 
that this was taken under his supervision in June, 1902. In prepara- 
tion for it the rock was first carefully cleaned and chalked. The 
photographer was A. L. Ward of Taunton. Mr. Seaver had invited 
a number of men to be present and assist him in the selection of the 
lines to be chalked. Two photographs were taken, one of the rock 
alone, the other showing the persons who were present. These per- 
sons, in order from left to right, he named as Joshua E. Crane, 
librarian, of Taunton; John O. Babbitt of Dighton; William Mac- 
Donald, Professor of History at Brown University; James E. Seaver; 
Ralph Davol of Taunton; Professor Crosby of Harvard (whom I 
cannot identify); Mr. Negus of Dighton; C. A. Agard of New 

The photograph has been reproduced in the Providence Journal, 
July 15, 1912; and in the report of the Dighton Bi-Centennial Cele- 
bration, July 17, 1912. 

36. Drawing of the Shoreward Side of the Rock and its Markings, 
by Charles A. Fernald, 1903. Figure 5, xx. 366. 

This is the date of Fernald's visit to Assonet Neck, according to 
the person at whose house he passed the night. The drawing was 
published in the Fernald Genealogy. 

37. Photograph by Charles R. Tucker, August 1903. Plate XLV, 
xx. 412. 

This is a small amateur photograph, with conservative chalking, 
concerning which its maker, of New Dorp, New York, writes me: 


"The characters were not plain and I was careful not to chalk any 
that I could not readily see." 

38. Photograph by Carlton Grinnell, about 1907. Plate XLV, xx. 412. 

This is another small amateur photograph, presented to me by 
Edward F. Waldron of Dighton, a cousin of the maker. I know 
nothing further about it. 

39. Photograph by Charles A. Hathaway, Jr., July, 1907. Plate 
XXXII, xx. frontispiece. 

The original is an 8 by 10 negative, taken under excellent condi- 
tions of lighting and expert manipulation. It is very nearly a per- 
fect photograph, much superior to any other ever taken. It has 
the exceptional merit of showing the rock as it actually is, without 
any kind of artificial emphasis of the lines upon it. Apart from 
varying conditions of lighting, which do serve to some extent to 
make some lines more readily observable at one time and others at 
another, study of this photograph is more profitable than study 
of the rock itself. Its further advantages have been dwelt upon at 
greater length in discussions of the Burgess photograph, number 27. 

Mr. Hathaway is a teacher of science in the Taunton High School. 
For his permission to reproduce this unsurpassed representation of 
the rock I cannot express too strong an appreciation. Concerning 
its production, Mr. Hathaway informs me: 

I believe I made that particular negative with a Collinear anastig- 
matic lens of about 8 inch focus. Of course almost any good lens would 
give a sharp negative. The peculiar lighting is what is important. I 
chose the time of day and year that I thought best adapted to my 
attempt. It was in July, and during the late forenoon, as nearly as I can 
tell at the present time. I wished to show the characters without any 
chalk marks. The sediment in the grooves and cracks was not disturbed, 
and aided in bringing out the surface inequalities. I washed off and 
brushed off the growth of algae on the very base of the surface. 

40. Eddy Photograph, by William P. Eddy and Frank N. Ganong, 
August, 1908. Plate XLVI, xx. 422. 

Mr. Eddy is owner of the Eddy House in Dighton, and secured 
this 3J by 4J photograph for use in his prospectus. The photo- 
graphic work was done by Mr. Ganong, a professional photographer, 


then living in Cambridge. Mr. Eddy himself did all the work of 
cleaning and chalking the rock. 

41. Post-Card by G. K. Wilbur, 1913. Plate XLVI, xx. 422. 

Mr. Wilbur is manager of Dighton Rock Park, which is not at 
the rock itself, but across the river, below Dighton village. The 
negative was made for him in the fall of 1913, by a photographer 
whose name he does not recall, and the lines on the rock were marked 
not with chalk but with plaster of Paris. The post-cards, of which 
there are two, differing only in size, are in colors, and were produced 
in Germany. The same picture, uncolored, is printed at the head of 
the prospectus of the Park, which endorses without qualification the 
Norse claim for the rock. 

42. Photographs and Sketch by E. B. Delabarre, March and April, 

My own recent and still incomplete studies of the inscription 
have suggested certain new assumptions as to some of the char- 
acters, which will be found exhibited in Figure 7 on page 416, 

Until a new theory occurred to me during the course of last 
winter as to what some of the characters might be, I believed that, 
with the splendid photographs by Burgess and by Hathaway at 
our disposal, we had ample material for an exhaustive study of the 
rock. Now I realize that we cannot feel entirely confident that 
we have detected every observable feature of it until we have 
photographs showing it under a wide variety of conditions of illu- 
mination. The need of this is well illustrated by a number of 
photographs that I took on April 13, 1919, using a Protar Vila 
lens. They show minute detail and are perfect photographs for 
the particular illumination secured, but are in no way better than 
the Hathaway photograph. Comparing them with the latter, it 
becomes evident that lines that are perfectly clear and indubitable 
in one condition of lighting may be indistinct or wholly invisible 
in another. For this reason there would be very little advantage in 
adding one of these new photographs to the collection illustrating 
this paper. What we need is a complete series of them. Study of 
the rock itself, with all of its inconveniences, or of any photographs 


taken under ordinary conditions, will not suffice. To enable us to 
discover all that the rock is now capable of revealing, we must 
have it photographed from different angles and illuminated in turn 
from each of a number of different directions; sometimes with the 
light shining full upon it, and at other times glancing along its 
surface in such manner as to throw its elevations and depressions 
into strong relief. The sun does this latter once each day, but 
from one direction only. The ideal presentation of the rock's 
appearance, therefore, by means of such a series of photographs, 
can be accomplished only by aid of artificial illumination, and is 
a task yet to be undertaken. 

In judging the appearance of any photograph, one fact should 
be borne in mind. A considerable portion of the rock's surface is 
sometimes irregularly covered with a thin greenish marine growth 
forming a smooth-appearing, closely adhering film or stain when the 
rock is dry. From a small specimen submitted to him, Professor 
J. F. Collins of Brown University describes it as a mixture of vari- 
ous species, probably not less than fifteen in all, of green and blue- 
green algae and diatoms. At the date above-mentioned I found the 
upper part of the face relatively free from it, but much of it to the 
right of and below the alleged word "Thorfinx." In some cases 
it seems to adhere especially to lines that are apparently artificial 
and yet little if at all indented, and thus to render them more 
distinct. In many other cases, however, it probably makes faint 
lines more obscure. By early June of this year such growths had 
wholly disappeared. Later in the summer, if I remember rightly, 
they or growths of other character again adhere thinly to parts of 
the rock. Some photographers attempt to scour away this growth; 
others leave it untouched; and its presence or absence must consid- 
erably affect the result. 

Minor Reproductions. In searching for all the representations 
of the rock and of the marks inscribed upon it that help to throw 
light upon what is really there, or illustrate the psychology of indi- 
vidual perception, I have found a few instances where the rock has 
been pictured that are of no importance for these purposes, but 
deserve mention as indications of the interest taken in the relic. 
For instance, the Bangor Daily Commercial of May 21, 1897, 


gives a cut after the Bartlett Sketch, and says that the Frances 
Dighton Williams Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolu- 
tion has on its badge a. representation of the rock. I am told that 
in the early '80's there was a Dighton Rock Stove Polish made in 
Taunton, whose wrapper bore a picture of the rock. The envelope 
in use by the board of tax assessors of Dighton has on it a cut showing 
the rock bearing the inscription according to the Eddy version, and 
beyond it on the shore a group of wigwams under a tree. It is re- 
ported that a newspaper called the Dighton Rock was once published 
in Dighton. At least one artist besides George A. Shove has pictured 
the rock, Frank T. Merrill, of whose work I have seen one example 
entitled "Indians chiseling Dighton Rock." The Maine Historical 
Society has a number of copies of the inscription, but including none 
that have not been listed here. The New England Historic Genea- 
logical Society possesses a tracing cloth on which are copies of the 
nine drawings of the Antiquitates Americans and one of the Har- 
rison-Gardner photograph. Doubtless there are numerous other 
cases belonging to this minor list, these are all that have come to 
my notice. 

Views of the Rock showing its general situation and surroundings, 
but not showing any of its artificial markings. Many of these have 
been made. The best one of which I have knowledge was taken at 
about mid-tide, by Professor Charles W. Brown of Brown Uni- 
versity on May 15, 1915, using a Zeiss Tessar lens. I have his kind 
permission to reproduce it in advance of his own probable use of it, 
and present it as Plate XLVII, xx. 432. 1 


My own interest in this research was the direct consequence of 
having acquired a summer home on Assonet Neck, within a mile of 
the rock. This led slowly to the realization that the region had other 

1 Besides the Rock, this photograph shows several other features of interest. 
In the middle background is Grassy Island, several times referred to in this 
study. To the left of the island and the rock is Taunton River, coming down 
from the north near the extreme left of the picture. Leftward from and beyond 
that point is the upper part of the village of Dighton. Rightward, the land in 
the background is in the town of Berkley, the water is Smith's Cove, and the 
foreground is Assonet Neck. 


than scenic and rural charms. My first inquiries into its history 
began in the summer of 1914. During the following autumn and 
winter my reading on this subject led naturally into the development 
of a particular interest in the literature of Dighton Rock, and thus 
gradually into the discovery of its problems and of the inadequacy of 
existing treatments of the subject. Each summer since then, I have 
made some observations on the rock itself. These have included some 
study of the inscription. But concerning that I regard my contribu- 
tions as having as yet but little value, and shall have little to say. 
Of the results of some other investigations, however, a brief outline 
may be permissible. 

(a) Has the rock always been at its present level, between high 
and low water? Some authorities whom we have quoted call atten- 
tion to the fact that the Indians often made inscriptions on rocks 
that are subject to submergence. Kendall and Squier are examples. 
But as long ago as Greenwood's time "some of undoubtible veracity" 
asserted that the river had been encroaching upon the shore, or that, 
as James Winthrop reported fifty years later, the inhabitants had 
dug around the rock, and thus let in the tide upon it. 1 The implica- 
tion is that without any change in the level at which the rock stands, 
or to which the tide rises, these processes permitted the water to 
overflow the rock. This, as both Kendall and Haven have pointed 
out, would be absurd unless in the process the rock had been un- 
dermined and thus caused to sink to a lower level, for which there is 

1 The most extraordinary statement of this character was made by Jerome 
V. C. Smith, later mayor of Boston, in a letter to Rafn dated June 15, 1842: 

"I am satisfied from a careful examination, that the rock once stood on the 
dry land, perhaps 20 rods from the water, but the river has gradually forced 
itself against the eastern bank, or Berkley side, and actually excavated the land, 
'till the rock has nearly gained the middle of the river at high tide. A boy who 
went as a guide, assured me that the river gained a little every year upon the 
Berkley side, which convinced me that my theory in regard to the original loca- 
tion of the rock was right. At the present rate of washing, it is not improbable 
that within the next 50 years it will be entirely out of sight, in the very centre of 
the channel" (no. 427). 

Smith's boy seems to have been cast in much the same mold as that used 
later hi constructing the one who told me his wonder-tales. Smith's accuracy 
will be appreciated when the reader is informed that the furthest reach of the 
tide does not exceed 75 feet beyond the rock, and that, as measured on the 
unpublished A. M. Harrison charts of 1875, in the office of the United States 
Coast Survey, the river is 1500 feet wide at this point. 


no claim and no evidence. The only other possibility permitting a 
belief that the rock was free from overflow when inscribed is that 
the level of the river and of its tides has changed relatively to the 
land. This might happen either through a rising of the river's level, 
for which there appear no discoverable causes, or through a sub- 
sidence of this part of the New England coast. Babcock alone, of 
writers on Dighton Rock, has maintained that there has been such 
a subsidence, due to post-glacial influences and still continuing. He 
attempts to give proofs of it, and to infer from it the aspect of the 
coast in the time of the Northmen. Professor Charles W. Brown, 
of Brown University, informs me that the evidence for recent sub- 
mergence in this particular region is still so inconclusive that geolo- 
gists do not agree in accepting it as an established fact. Charles A. 
Davis, 1 as a result of studying the salt-marsh formations near Boston, 
seems to have presented the strongest indications in favor of it. 

One of my investigations has a bearing on this question. A number 
of years ago two residents of Dighton dug out at Grassy Island, 2 
lying in Smith's Cove about fifty rods from Dighton Rock, what they 
described as a large pocket of Indian relics. During the summer of 
1918 my own search uncovered there a number of widely distributed 
small Indian implements such as arrow-heads, stone knives, flakes 
and the like, lying at a level now buried under from 2| to 3J feet 
of salt-marsh peat, whose upper surface is submerged under the 
highest tides. 3 While the upper surface is practically at a uniform 
level this implement-bearing stratum slopes gradually, with a grade 
of perhaps one foot in 200, so that it is least deeply overlaid with 
peat toward the northerly end of the island. The implements are 
scattered here and there irregularly along at least 200 feet of the 
western edge of the island, and they doubtless extend beyond the 
limits thus far explored. From then* character and distribution, 
it seems almost certain that the level on which they lie must have 
been a dry and habitable land surface at the time when they were 
deposited. Supposing it to have been at least two feet above the 

1 In Economic Geology, 1910, v. 623. 

8 Visible in the middle background of Plate XLVII. 

8 Since then I have found also an adze, a small broken pestle-like stone, and 
several holes filled with decayed organic material, reaching down nearly two feet 
into the former surface, some of them the remains of small trees, others of stakes 
driven into the ground as parts of an ancient weir, dwelling or other structure. 


reach of high tides when Indians dwelt there, there must have been 
a subsidence of the land of at least 5-| feet since that epoch; and if 
Dighton Rock then stood where it now stands, it was above the 
reach of the water at a time when Indians were living in the close 

Can we form any estimate as to how long ago that was? Only 
with a great deal of uncertainty. I have found broken pieces of 
crockery under 15 inches of salt-marsh peat on a beach in front of a 
house on Assonet River that is just about 100 years old. That may 
indicate a rate of growth of the peat in that particular place of about 
15 inches in a century. This is not far from the cautious estimate 
given by Mr. Davis: "The rate of growth of the peat has not yet 
been determined, but it is probably slow, perhaps less than a foot in a 
century." In a footnote he adds: "Mr. J. R. Freeman gives the rate 
of subsidence as determined by comparison of old bench marks as 
about one foot per hundred years." Accepting the latter estimate, 
the habitable character of the level on which these relics lie ceased 
about five or six hundred years before subsidence ceased. My own 
crude observations had led me to believe that about Assonet Neck 
there had been no subsidence since about 1600. I based the deduc- 
tions on the estimates of acreage of the many salt meadows about 
Assonet Neck and Assonet Bay when they are first mentioned as 
compared with the present. The present widely extended mud-flats 
in the Bay would have been salt meadows three hundred years ago if 
they were then three feet higher than now, making the meadows then 
much more extensive than at present. Yet so far as can be judged 
from the early descriptions, their acreage is practically unchanged. 1 
The dividing line between meadow and upland, wherever it can be 
inferred for former times from early descriptions or from old stone 
walls, appears likewise to remain as it was. It is hardly believable 
that the interworking of the land-reducing influences of subsidence 
and erosion and of the land-upbuilding influence of peat-growth can 
have been so evenly balanced as to leave the limits of the meadows un- 

1 I find definite early estimates ranging from 200 to 260 years ago, for about 
half of these meadows, involving about fifty acres in all. By measurements on 
the large scale A. M. Harrison charts of 1875, and by recent pacing of most of 
the boundaries, which in all of these cases can be identified from old descriptions 
with practical certainty, I am led to believe that there has been no appreciable 
change. But such comparisons cannot be exact enough to be decisive. 


altered. This could happen under continuing submergence only if the 
meadows were bordered on the one side by abrupt upland banks and on 
the other by abrupt descent into deep water. The conditions are quite 
otherwise. The strongest consideration is the first one mentioned : that 
three feet of higher level, or even two, would have so raised the present 
mud-flats that it would seem that they must necessarily have been wide 
meadows; and instead of a broad Assonet Bay, which is mentioned by 
name at least as early as 1648, there would have been only a relatively 
narrow river. Grassy Island is an exception to the unaltered size of 
the meadows, having been estimated at three acres when first men- 
tioned, and now possessing but little more than an acre. But in this 
case the change has been due to the crumbling of its banks through 
erosive influences. It was a fully formed salt-marsh island when first 
known to the settlers, about 1640, and seemingly at its present level. 
These observations have some pertinence, but are not conclusive. 
Possibly the subsidence still continues. If the latter supposition is 
true and the rate of subsidence about as suggested, then the Indians 
dwelt on the implement-bearing level, and Dighton Rock was 
entirely above water, about A.D. 1350. If my own guess is nearer 
the truth, the date for these conditions would go back to A. D. 1050 
and earlier. If, however, the implements, including chips, may 
have been deposited on a tide-swept beach instead of on a level at 
least two feet above the reach of the water, the dates would have to 
be advanced some 200 to 400 years. And if, on the other hand, the 
subsidence ceased long before 1600, the date would have to be moved 
correspondingly further back. There may be other explanations for 
the observed phenomena, and consequently neither the fact of sub- 
sidence nor the estimates of tune can be regarded as established. 
They are slight indications that may eventually be useful in the 
solution of a very interesting problem. 

(6) Shape, weight and underground measurements. 

I was led to these investigations because of a belief sometimes met 
with, to the effect that the rock is not a boulder, but an outcropping 
portion of the bed-rock. It will be remembered that Professor Blake 
wrote me that he had found that to be true. How he discovered it, 
I never learned. I am now sure that it was not through personal 
investigation, but as a result of hearing the tale that is the single 
source probably of all such impressions, and that is related by Nils 


Arnzen. In a report made October 15, 1889, to the Old Colony 
Historical Society, he said: 

The idea entertained that the rock was a boulder has received a 
check. A member of your committee visited the rock, in company 
with a gentleman of large experience in handling such objects, whose 
opinion of the subject is second to none. On seeing the rock he said, 
"This is not a boulder, but a part of a ledge. The rest can probably 
be found over in the woods with a dip toward the river, and if fast 
thereto, no power can move it." And in less than 200 feet was found 
the "ledge" as he supposed. On farther examination, he said, he was 
sure that it rested on the ledge though it may not be inseparable from it. 

As a matter of fact the rock is a boulder resting in a peculiar 
position on one edge in the mud and gravel of the river bed. A 
near-by rock * four feet beyond, projecting above the beach only 
about fifteen inches, has such a slant of its upper surface that the 
basal edge of Dighton Rock probably rests upon it at its upstream 
end only. Another small boulder, 12 by 25 by 30 inches, resting in 
the angle between the two under the beach-surface, prevented 
thorough exploration at this point. 

I have dug down at numerous points all around the periphery of 
the rock, as far as the brief recession of the tides and the in-seeping 
water would permit a maximum distance of about three feet. I 
found it possible, however, to extend actual measurements on ac- 
count of a peculiar circumstance. At the beach level the soil is of 
course packed firmly against the rock. But at a point Ij to 2 feet 
below, the earth shrinks away from contact with the rock, forming a 
narrow cavity, one to two inches wide, through which a measuring 
stick can easily be pushed for a distance of three to four feet until it 
meets hard-pan, not ledge, again in contact with the rock. Since the 
underground surfaces run in practically straight lines, the stick can 
be kept in contact with the rock, and although it does not reach its 
extreme lower edge yet the angle of slope can be determined with 
a high degree of accuracy and thus the meeting point of the two 
underground slopes can be readily calculated. 

The shoreward slope above ground is very irregular, probably being 
much worn and broken. If it were like the other surfaces and met 

Visible to the left of Dighton Rock in Plates XLII and XLIV. 


them at similar angles, the rock would be a fairly regular elongated 
prism with four faces meeting approximately at right angles, the 
faces being nearly plane surfaces. A vertical cross-section in the 
middle would thus be almost a perfect square, measuring 7 to 8 feet 
on each side, placed in a diamond-shaped position with an angle 
underneath. The actual shape differs, however, in that the front 
surface underneath is slightly and rather complexly curved and 
warped, and the rear upper surface irregularly convex; and in the 
position of the shoreward or rear face, whose average slope I cal- 
culated as forming an angle of 65 to the vertical, and as meeting the 
upward prolongation of the inscribed or front face at a point 9| 
inches above its actual termination. Using this average rear slope 
instead of its actual irregularities, the existent cross-section has 
measurements as follows: 

Front slope above ground (inscribed face): Actual linear extent, 
4 feet 10 inches; prolonged upward to meet average rear slope, 5 feet 
7J inches. Angle to vertical, 39. Angle to average rear slope, 104. 

Front slope underground: Linear extent, 7 feet. Angle to vertical, 
45. Angle to inscribed face, 96. 

Rear slope underground : Linear extent, 8 feet. Angle to vertical, 46. 
Angle to front slope underground, 91. 

Average rear slope above ground: Linear extent, 7 feet 9} inches. 
Angle to vertical, 65. Angle to rear slope underground, 69. 

I have made further measurements at the two ends and at some 
intermediate points, but it would be undesirably complicating to 
introduce them here. 1 On their basis, and assuming the average 
length of the prism to be 11 feet, I calculate the cubic contents of the 
rock at about 480 cubic feet; but this estimate must be taken as 
approximate only, because the irregularities of shape make accurate 
determination difficult. The specific gravity of the rock is 2.7, as 
determined for two specimens broken off from it. The total weight, 
therefore, must be not far from 40 tons. Previous estimates of its 
weight have been: by Kendall, 5 to 6 tons; by Elisha Slade, 10 tons 
(above ground) ; by the Rev. Frank E. Kittredge, 50 tons; by Jerome 

1 Some additional measurements of the above-ground portions made by 
previous observers and probably as reliable as any that could be given were 
mentioned in my second paper (xix. 53, 105 n). 


V. C. Smith, 20 tons. I calculate that at least seven-tenths of the 
bulk of the rock lies underground. 

(c) Composition of the rock. This has. been variously given by 
different writers. It has been called granite, gneiss, greenstone, trap, 
flinty stone, silicious conglomerate, silicious sandstone, graywacke. 
Of these terms, only sandstone (not silicious) and graywacke are 
at all correct. Of graywacke, Kemp says it is "an old name of 
loose significance;" 1 and in this Professor C. W. Brown agrees, 
adding that as a single term it approximates most nearly a correct 
description, but is too vague to be of much value. I have asked 
Professor Brown to give me an accurate description, and he permits 
me to use the following as applying to a specimen piece broken from 
the rock: 

A gray, medium to coarse grained feldspathic sandstone made up of 
abundant easily discernible particles of glassy quartz, with small, light 
colored grains of feldspar sometimes showing fresh cleavage surfaces. 
At other times the feldspar is decomposed (kaolinized) to such an ex- 
tent that it can easily be dug out with a knife-point. Occasionally bits 
of pyrite and dark grains of other rocks and accessory minerals are 
found. The rock shows a small .amount of shearing or foliation with 
development of sericite. 

(d) The surface "incrustation;" weathering phenomena. Several 
writers have spoken of a "crust" of the surface. Thus Stiles: "In- 
scription pecked in a hard thin reddish or tawny crust J inch 
thick;" Webb (describing Portsmouth rocks, of graywacke similar 
to Dighton Rock): "an incrustation, appearing like a coating of 
cement;" Squier: "This face has a thin incrustation of a reddish 
color and ferruginous appearance." As a matter of fact, clear photo- 
graphs show that in a very few places of slight extent, thin sections 
of the surface have scaled off; and on a neighboring rock of similar 
composition I have easily detached such thin scales. But otherwise 
the surface cannot be accurately described as possessing a "crust," 
though it is discolored to a slight depth. Professor Brown has 
kindly furnished me with a description of this phenomenon also: 

The face is probably a joint plane, which is usually more impregnated 
with iron. Under the influence of the sea-water the rock weathers with 
a rough reddish-brown rusty surface. The surface is roughened by the 

1 Handbook of Rooks, 5th ed., 1911, p. 214. 



projection of the network of resistant quartz above the pittings caused 
by the decomposition of the weaker feldspar and other mineral con- 
stituents of the rock. The discoloration from weathering apparently 
penetrates, as shown by the whitening of the feldspars, but to or T V 
inch. The rusty color is due to the interaction of the salts in the sea- 
water and the rock minerals, which is a common occurrence on the 
shore line. It is a question whether scaling through weathering occurs 
equally in grooves and on planes; but I have noted the permanence of 
glacial scratches even after the exfoliation of a thin layer of the rock 

(e) Relation of the rock to the neighboring slab. A flat surfaced 
rock lies on the beach, behind and southward from Dighton Rock. 1 
Stiles and Kendall have described it as possessing a very few in- 
scribed markings, and Friedrichsthal thought that it once possessed 
an inscription as large as that on the more famous rock. This so- 
called slab is the sole foundation for the many rumors of there 
being another inscribed rock "near Dighton Rock," or "lower 
down on the beach," or even, as Joshua T. Smith reported, "across 
the river." In a previous paper I reported that I had discovered 
that this reputed slab is really a boulder, and that "it is a curious 
fact that it is of the same material as Dighton Rock, and its surface, 
in shape and dimensions, is closely similar to the inscribed face of the 
latter. It is not impossible that the two formed originally one boulder 
that later split apart." 2 Later observation of the relative position 
of the two and of their present distance apart tends to strengthen 
this hypothesis. Among various possibilities as to the agencies that 
may have caused the occurrence, a fairly plausible one is suggested 
by an incident of the great September gale of 1815, when a huge 
boulder on the bank of Assonet river is said to have rolled over. If 
we assume that long ago Dighton Rock and the slab were one, with 
the inscribed face of the former in contact with the exposed face of 
the latter, and that a similar occurrence happened to them; that the 
slab stopped in its present position, but the Rock split off and con- 
tinued rolling 2j quarter-turns and there settled edge-down in the 
mud, their actual relative positions would be accounted for. It is 
even vaguely possible that the event is commemorated in the name 

1 Visible to the right of Dighton Rock in Plates XLII and XLIV. 
* xix. 112 note. 


Chippascutt which the Indians applied to the region about Digh- 
ton Rock. I previously suggested that the name might refer 
to a " Cleft of Rocks " near-by. 1 But it might equally apply to a 
"split-apart rock;" and if Indians were witnesses of such a striking 
event, there is no improbability in the supposition that they might 
have commemorated it in a name. Some of the regular inscribed 
figures on the upper part of the face might even have been designed 
as pictures of the catastrophe. These are purely speculative sug- 
gestions, but in forming our opinions concerning Dighton Rock they 
have to be recognized as possibilities. 

(/) The inscription on the up-stream end. This end actually faces 
about east north east. 2 Being up-stream on a river flowing southward, 
it is usually referred to as the north end. Stiles saw a simple inscrip- 
tion there in 1767, which he drew in a manner resembling I HOWOO, 
with a few additional marks underneath. He heard that it had 
been made "30 years ago, some said 12." Edward E. Hale saw it in 
1839, and remarked in his Diary that "H and W figure in it," and 
that it had been made "this or last year." The anonymous writer 
of the Taunton Whig, January 23, 1839, saw "sculptured characters 
on the south end," where I can detect nothing artificial. I think he 
meant to say north. He claims they had been "observed by none 
before," and describes them as including three triangles, resembling 
the Greek letter Delta, and " the rude outlines of the head and body 
of a man." Possibly also the "C. Furnius name written over by M. 
Agrippa," seen by Fernald at the "East end," may have been in this 

There is some sort of an inscription there. It is very seldom visible 
at all, hence is rarely seen and has been mentioned only by these 
three or four persons. Since the statements of the first two of them 
had never been published until within the last two years, and that of 
the third was in an obscure paper, attention has never been called to 
these marks until my own reference to them in 1917. In some rare 
lights they stand out very plainly, but it is difficult to be sure exactly 
what they are. I have pictured them variously at different times. 

1 xviii. 248. 

2 The line of intersection of the plane of the face with the plane of the horizon, 
allowing for a magnetic deviation of 13 west, is directed N 58 60 E, or al- 
most exactly ENE by compass. 





It is possible to see in them all the characters of Dr. Stiles. Seen 
otherwise, the triangles of the Whig can be detected, and one of the 
O's, together with some additional lines, might perhaps have been 
interpreted as a head and body. The surface of the rock has scaled 
off or broken away just to the left and also just to the right of the line 
of apparent letters. The last three letters seem clearly to be WOO. 
The I H of Stiles are certainly more complex than that. His middle O 
is there, but with a vertical line across it. I have thought it possible 
that there might have been a GR on the part broken away at the left; 
that EE might with difficulty and perhaps some aid of imagination 
be read next; that the final vertical of Stiles's H, a following oblique 
line that is certainly there, and the vertical crossing the O, might 
together form an N; and that then, following WOO, a D might have 
been on the other part now scaled off. The middle O, and a con- 
siderable number of irregular lines and dots crossing and underneath 
this line of letters might have been added later, and thus serve to 
make present interpretation of these very faint marks more difficult 
and uncertain. If this highly conjectural suggestion represents the 
actual facts, then Isaac Greenwood inscribed his name there in 1730 
a date sufficiently close to Stiles's estimate. 

(g) Inscriptions on the shoreward slope. No one except Fernald 
has paid any attention to these. There are unquestionably many 
initials carved there, all of them very faint and apparently old, so 
obscure that very few of them can be seen except in favorable condi- 
tions of lighting, and almost .all of them susceptible of being inter- 
preted in varying ways under different conditions of lighting or differ- 
ent mental attitudes toward them. They all seem to be ordinary 
English capitals, consequently made since 1637. I have not recog- 
nized the initials of any known or likely visitor to the rock. Fernald 
gives two drawings, on his pages 20 and 33, nearly alike but not 
quite in agreement. 1 Where he found an ancient compass depicted, 
there is merely a natural rather circular flaw of the rock. His sup- 
posed C drawn within an O, "the name of Christ in that of God," are 
again nothing but natural flaws in the rock, only very remotely 
resembling a C and a circle. Where he found "Washington" there 
is a very plain small W, but no other real letters. The W, however, 
is followed by just enough small cracks and irregularities to permit 

1 See drawing and description on p. 366, above. 


a highly imaginative reading in agreement with Fernald, if one 
strongly desires to see it as such. Unbiased examination is con- 
clusively against its real presence. In the position where Fernald 
places C. Furnius, I can discover nothing. All his other depictions, 
except of a drill-hole, are of initials. He gives nine sets of them. I 
have found thirteen, of whose correct reading I was uncertain except 
in one case. On comparison of my uncertain readings with those 
that he gives, I decided that they agreed : fully, but with the initials 
in another place than where he draws them, in one case; nearly, in 
three cases; possibly, in one case; uncertain, one case; not at all, 
three cases. 

There are also recently made initials on the face which bears the 
main inscription. One of these is accompanied by the date '87. 
These facts seem to me to have an important bearing on the next 
topic to be discussed. 

(h) The wear of the inscribed face and the age of the inscription. 
The assumption has commonly been made that the inscription is 
very ancient. Ignorance by local Indians of its origin and meaning 
has been regarded by some as one proof that it is " very antique and 
a work of a different nature from any of theirs." Another equally 
inconclusive evidence of it has been derived from the faintness and 
uncertainty of the characters and the supposedly rapid wearing 
away of the surface. At least three cases are on record where an 
observer believes that he can detect a sensible alteration within the 
period of his memory. At least four have compared present appear- 
ance with past descriptions and drawn the conclusion that the wear 
is exceedingly rapid. A very large number of writers have deduced 
from present faintness alone that there must have been great wearing 
away since the characters were first made. The usual conclusion 
that is drawn from either one of the three forms of this argument 
from faintness and wear is that the inscription is ancient. Only 
Horsford, to my knowledge, has argued that rapid] erosion would 
prove recent origin; and only Schoolcraft, so far as I have noticed, 
has believed that exposure to the action of the tides has exercised 
a preservative rather than an erosive influence. 

One thing is certain, that former descriptions of the depth of 
the incisions cannot be used as evidence for any change. The first 
who describes them calls them "deeply engraved" in 1690; but 



Cotton Mather had never seen the rock, so far as we know, and this 
statement of his is doubtless on a par with his other statement that 
the characters are on "a mighty Rock." Greenwood gives the first 
reliable description, in 1730. He definitely says that the "indentures 
are not very considerable/' and his drawing and his other statements 
prove that he had as much difficulty in making out the real characters 
as has ever been experienced since then. Even on the lowest part of 
the face, which alone does show evident signs of much wear, Mather's 
raughtsman, and Greenwood, and their next followers, were even 
successful in making out apparent characters than have been 
some later observers. Sewall in 1768 and Kendall in 1807 made 
definite statements to the effect that the greater part of the lines 
were so much effaced as to make their decipherment impossible, or 
wholly subject to the fancy. As to their actual depth, Stiles was first 
to give an estimate, in 1767: "not -f^ inch deep." Kendall said in 
one place " not more than f inch deep, but sufficiently conspicuous 
to attract attention from the deck of a vessel sailing in the channel," 
and this statement, exceedingly dubious in its latter part, has led to 
some of the most mistaken deductions. But in another place he said 
more cautiously that the depth never exceeds f inch, and he quali- 
fied this by the further statement quoted above. The most recent 
estimates that I have noted, probably as accurate as any that can 
be made, are by Webb in 1830: "sometimes one-third of an inch, 
though generally very superficial;" by Squier in 1848: "none deeper 
than J inch; " and by Elisha Slade in 1875 : " from f to f inches deep; " 
and Squier adds concerning the lines in general that they are exceed- 
ingly shallow and scarcely discernible. Certainly if there are or ever 
have been incisions as much as \ or even f inch deep they are very few 
in number and in no provable way different to-day from former times. 
It is equally certain that at the time of their first discovery the 
greater part of the lines were as difficult of accurate determination 
as they are to-day. The more deeply cut ones can now be clearly 
and surely seen in appropriate light, and are drawn practically alike 
in all depictions. Drawings and descriptions, therefore, give no 
evidence of greater wear to-day, even on the lowest part, than 200 
years ago; and they rather tend to prove, on the contrary, that the 
erosion is imperceptible, so far as any effect upon the inscription is 



Our possession of the two photographs of 1868 and of 1907 makes 
a positive study of this problem possible. Both show the surface 
and its texture clearly enough for the purpose, and both were made 
without disfiguring the rock with chalk lines. So far as I can dis- 
cover on careful comparison of the two, the only discoverable changes 
in the forty years consist in a very few additional scalings of very 
slight extent, especially about the larger cracks in the rock; and these 
do not seem to affect in any way the discernible characteristics of the 
inscription. 1 

Some of the modern initials on the face, and a few lines of the 
inscription, were cut deep and prove little. The great majority of 
the lines of the main inscription, those of the inscription on the up- 
stream end, and those of the initials on the shoreward slope, were 
certainly made very shallow, and were all as difficult to discern cor- 
rectly when first described as they are now. I think that the correct 
conclusion to draw from these facts is this: that shallow marks, 
within a very few years, become very faint, uncertain, susceptible of 
being seen in many different ways; that thereafter they last indefi- 
nitely with no appreciable change in the ease of perceiving them; and 
that the wearing away of the face of the rock is exceedingly slow. 
It has very evidently been much greater on the lower third of the 
face than higher up; yet even there no appreciable alteration since 
the rock was first observed can be deduced either from the drawings, 
or from descriptions, or from comparison of the photographs. 

These facts, especially the modern inscriptions on the up-stream 
end and the shoreward slope, prove conclusively that no great age 
earlier than 1680 need be assigned to the inscription. That is all 
that they do prove. Equally consistent with them would be a belief 
that the characters are of a considerable antiquity. Unless we can 
find other evidence than is presented by the appearance of the in- 
scription itself and its observable changes we cannot know whether 
the inscriptions on the face, aside from recent initials, were made all 
at one tune or at various times, nor whether any or all of them are 
very ancient on the one hand, or made at no long interval previous 
to 1680, on the other. Their appearance is consistent with the 
assignment of any date for which we may discover other evidence. 

1 My own photographs of 1919 support the same conclusion. 



In some ways I am rather sorry that I have a new theory to pro- 
pose. With the twenty or so distinct ones already in our possession, 
it would seem that we had a complete abundance. Yet there is 
another possibility, with just about half as much evidence in its favor 
as would be needed to make it a certainty, and we cannot ignore it. 
Aside from facts that are historically established, I shall appeal to no 
evidence that anyone may not verify for himself by aid of the ma- 
terials herewith given. Each then can be left to draw his own con- 
clusions as to the degree of probability involved. 

It may well be imagined with what astonishment, on examining 
the Hathaway photograph for the hundredth time on December 2, 
1918, I saw in it clearly and unmistakably the date 1511. No one 
had ever seen it before, on rock or photograph; yet once seen, its 
genuine presence on the rock cannot be doubted. Still, although its 
lines are all really there, it may not have been meant as such, but 
rather as part of an entirely different design. With one small excep- 
tion, all of its lines occur in nearly every drawing and chalk-marking 
ever made. They can be seen just to the right of the lower middle 
part of the large human figure near the left end of the rock. 1 Out 
of 27 drawings and chalkings of this part of the inscription, 21 include 
both the initial and the final figures 1, and only one omits them both. 
The lower terminal curve of the 5 has been drawn by no one except 
Barber. But the rest of the 5 and the 1 that follows it are given in 
every one of the depictions, including Mather's, the earliest of all. 
All of them, however, join these lines to neighboring ones, and all 
except three represent the combination as a small human figure. 
This omission of the terminal curve and seeing the rest as part of a 
human figure is the reason why no one previously has discovered the 
date. In case of a puzzle picture, one who does not suspect it to- 
be such is most unlikely to discover the hidden object, and even one 
who knows it to be there has difficulty in first perceiving it, because 
the artist has made another interpretation of its lines more obvious, 
and observing it in the obvious and easier way inhibits its interpreta- 
tion in any other manner. Something of this sort is the case here. 

See Fig. 7, p. 416, below. 


If the reader will examine the Hathaway photograph, he will see that 
the hitherto undrawn terminal curve of the 5 shows in it clearly. 
It is not of recent introduction. Earlier drawings do not show it, 
except imperfectly the one mentioned, because none of the artists 
have seen it. For the same reason, none of the photographs show it 
chalked. Nevertheless, it appears on every one of the photographs 
that is clear enough, even very faintly on the Eastman, earliest of all. 
In most of them it is rather obscured by the chalk lines. But in the 
Burgess photograph, the Blake cast, and the Hathaway photograph, its 
presence is unmistakable. Looking now again at the latter photograph, 
we see above the 51 a small circle with a central dot, and below it a 
larger circle with central dot and three or four lines radiating out from 
it below. It is these that have been taken by almost every observer 
as head, lower body and legs of the human figure, while the 5 has 
been taken as its breast and the 1 as its back. But suppose we 
regard these circles as sun-symbols or some other device independent 
of the 51 and probably carved there on some later occasion by another 
hand and for another purpose. Such an hypothesis is entirely legiti- 
mate, and leaves us free to accept the date as a real date. Yet I 
repeat that we are not compelled to so accept it. 

If the date was actually designed as such, however, then there 
ought really to be something further among the sculptures to give 
it significance. The most promising place to seek for it is among the 
characters that have been so often believed to be alphabetic. We 
must concede at the outset that not one of these need be accepted 
as necessarily alphabetic, any more than the date need necessarily 
be regarded as designedly a date. The only thing we can say is that 
they may be letters, and that, indistinct as they are, some of them 
may not heretofore have been read correctly. Examining the line 
of characters just underneath the uppermost long crack a little 
above and rightward from the centre of the inscribed surface, we 
find that, paying no attention to Rafn's conjectural interpolations, 
the fullest interpretation that has ever been given to it is Kendall's 
ORINX. But in the Hathaway photograph there is a clear C, 
preceding the O and angular like it; and Kendall's IN can be seen 
as an M. Accepting this tentatively, I found a possible though not 
probable meaning for it, in consonance with Buckingham Smith's 
Roman Catholic interpretation of the line above. The date also 






would accord well with the 1520 that he suggested as the approxi- 
mate period when some missionary labored among the Indians here 
and wrote the pious invocation on Dighton Rock. However, his 
theory and my addition to it never appealed to me as worthy of 
serious consideration. Unless we should discover positive and 
credible information that some one actually did engrave a picture or 
an initial on the rock as expressing a particular meaning, we have 
no ground for accepting one rather than another of] the hundred 
alternative meanings and origins that could equally well be devised 
for any of the pictures or letters taken as initials. Entire names, or 
words, or phrases, or dates, if we could discern them with certainty 
in a clear photograph, would be another matter. 

The most obvious reading of this line as seen in the Hathaway 
photograph is CORIEIX, the C and O being angular and the E 
curved as in some Gothic forms of it. The I which follows it might 
even be part of it as a more completely Gothic E. I can find no 
meaning for such a collection of letters. But the I between the R 
and the E can just as easily be taken as a T, making the first part of 
the line read CORTE. It is in every way probable that different 
characters on the rock were made on many different occasions, and 
that some of the later ones were made over earlier ones. This very 
process is still continuing in the case of the modern initials which 
thoughtless people are carving there. There are known cases of 
petroglyphic inscriptions overlying one another in several layers. 1 
Of the characters following the CORTE, therefore, the I may be the 
beginning of a letter the remainder of which is obscured by the X; the 
X itself may be an interpolation; and there may have been originally 
other following characters now obscured by later additions. Above 
the CO and the crack in the rock is a clear M followed by uncertain 
characters. We can read, then, without the slightest degree of 

forced interpretation, at least M CORTE 2 This, 

together with the date, may be a clue to the real first writer on 

1 See no. 298, pp. 37-42. 

2 On a photograph by C. W. Brown, taken May 15, 1915, and not here repro- 
duced because in other respects not helpful to our study, the CORTEIX is even 
clearer and more decisive than on the Hathaway photograph; and following the 
M is an almost certain 1C or IG. My own recent examination of the rock and 
photographs of it convince me that the G and a V following it are as certain as 
any of the other characters. 


Dighton Rock. There seems to be only one historically known 
person who could by any possibility be held accountable for these 
marks, if we have interpreted them and the date correctly. One 
such there unquestionably is. 

Henry Harrisse relates in full all that is known about the voyages 
of the two Portuguese brothers named Cortereal. 1 So far as I can 
discover from persons most likely to be informed on the subject, 
nothing is known now in addition to the facts that he had assembled 
by 1892; and his own later annotations in his personal copies of his 
books, now in the Library of Congress, convey no new information. 
On his authority, we will review briefly the pertinent facts. 

"No nation in the fifteenth century exhibited so great a spirit of 
maritime enterprise as the Portuguese." After previous voyages, 
Gaspar Cortereal in 1501 explored the coasts of Newfoundland and 
Labrador. Eventually he sent two of his caravels back to Portugal, 
whilst he continued alone his exploration toward the Northwest, 
from which he never returned. It is probable that he was ice-bound 
or shipwrecked in Hudson Bay. Combining a hope to rescue his 
brother Gaspar with the desire of accomplishing also transatlantic 
discoveries, Miguel Cortereal set sail from Lisbon on May 10, 1502, 
with either two or three vessels. On reaching Newfoundland, his 
ships separated, in order to explore more thoroughly, agreeing to 
meet again on the 20th of August. The Hakluyt version of what 
followed, dating from 1563, relates: "The two other ships did so, 
and they, seing that Michael Cortereal was not come at the day 
appointed, nor yet afterwards in a certain time, returned backe into 
the realme of Portugall, and neuer heard any more newes of him, 
nor yet any other memorie. But that country is called the land of 
Cortereal vnto this day." It was believed that he was shipwrecked. 

Even so, he may well have escaped with his life. The natives of 
the region were reported by those who returned from the expedition 
of the previous year as "quite gentle." We may suppose, then, that 
they may have been friendly and helpful. 2 His natural desire would 

1 Les Corte-Real, 1883; Gaspar Corte-Real, in Recueil de Voyages et de 
Documents pour servir a 1'Histoire de la Geographic depuis le XIIP jusqu'a la 
fin du XVP Siecle, 1883; Discovery of North America, 1892. 

2 The expedition of Gaspar Cortereal in 1501 had brought back to Portugal 
67 natives, apparently designed for use as slaves. In a paper on The Portuguese 


have been to return to Portugal. He knew of no other contemplated 
expeditions to Newfoundland; but he did know that somewhere 
to the south, how far away he probably did not realize, Spanish 
vessels were making constant visits to the new lands. He might 
very plausibly have attempted to reach the Spanish seas. His 
progress would necessarily have been slow, for there were not only 
geographical difficulties to overcome, but also hostile tribes of In- 
dians. Harrisse gives evidence dating from 1544 that Nova Scotia 
and Cape Breton were then occupied by fierce tribes who were " bad 
people, powerful, and great archers." It is conceivable that by pa- 
tience and tact Miguel Cortereal may have worked his way through 
these dangers after long delay. If we concede that we have reason 
for suspecting his presence in southern New England in 1511, it 
would not lack in plausibility on account of the nine years that had 
clasped since his shipwreck. There he would have again met with 
natives who in 1524 were described as "kind and gentle," and in 
1602 as "exceeding courteous, gentle of disposition." 1 And there 
would furthermore be no lack of plausibility in the supposition 
that he might have engraved his name and the date and perhaps 
a message on a rock, in order to call attention of possible explorers 
to his presence. Or it may be that, being then about sixty years 
old, worn with* hardship, perhaps ill and realizing his approaching 
end, he may have wished to leave a record of his fate. 

There is just enough of evidence to make it necessary to enter- 
tain this hypothesis as a plausible possibility, but not enough to 
carry entire conviction. I can even fancy that I can faintly make 
out, in the lights and shades of the surface, behind and intermingled 
with the obscuring later additions, the dim form of all the remaining 
letters of his name; 2 but I realize that it may be only fancy. Of 

on the North-East Coast of America (in Proceedings and Transactions of the 
Royal Society of Canada, 1890, vol. viii. sect. ii. pp. 133 f), the Rev. George 
Patterson asks: "What more likely than that these navigators should have fallen 
victims to the vengeance of the friends or clansmen of the kidnapped, or per- 
haps been overpowered in an attempt to capture more." In the absence of any 
knowledge of the circumstances under which the kidnapping took place, whether 
by violence or by persuasion, and whether knowledge of it reached the particular 
natives with whom Miguel came in contact, such an assumption is no more 
probable than the one that I make. 

1 See Winship's Sailors' Narratives, pp. 21, 45. 

2 See Fig. 7 (on p. 416), and note that in two facsimile signatures reproduced by 




course I' do not attribute any of the picture-writings on the rock to 
Miguel Cortereal. They were put there, probably at later and various 
dates, by Indians. It may be that these Indian pictures, together 
with the wearing away of the lower surface, have effaced a longer 
message by this early explorer. No sign of it remains, and there is 
no likelihood that it can in any manner be restored. It is not impos- 
sible, however, that more definite evidence may be discoverable as to 

Drawn by E. B. Delabarre, 1919 

whether or not the name itself is there. For one thing, if there exist 
in Portugal inscriptions of about 1500 which make use of the peculiar 
angular C and O and of the unexpectedly curved E, such a fact 
would have strong bearing on this question. 1 Moreover, the fact 

Harrisse in the second paper cited above, the name is spelled Miguell CorteReall. 
In the figure, I have drawn in heavy lines all the component parts of name and 
date that are unambiguously observable in the Hathaway photograph. The light 
and dotted lines in the name indicate how it may be dubiously completed. 
Neighboring and overlying lines and figures are also drawn in light lines. Of 
the two "deers," the one at the right, though fairly clear [in the photograph, is 
a little uncertain and has never heretofore been observed. It is much more dis- 
tinct in my own photographs. The "bird " is inserted to show the position where 
Baylies and his companions probably saw it and where with difficulty it may still be 
imagined in the Burgess and Hathaway photographs. I do not believe, however, 
that there ever was really any bird portrayed in that position on the rock. 

1 I have found some evidence pointing in this direction. Apparently it was 
a time of transition between the use of Gothic and of Roman forms in lettering, 
and their intermingling, as in this inscription, was customary. Our associate 
Mr. R. Clipston Sturgis says in a recent letter: "Letters in use in Portugal in 
1500 would be just the same as those in use in other parts of Europe at that 
date. It was at the end of the highest period of the Renaissance in Italy, and 
the various beautiful forms of Gothic lettering had been gradually abandoned 
for those based upon Roman types." Lewis F. Day says: "Writers of old 




has already been emphasized that conditions of illumination make 
a very great difference in the ease of observing some lines and 
characters that are unquestionably present on the rock. As ex- 
ample, one needs only to recall the usual complete invisibility of 
the inscription on the upstream end, that nevertheless under rare 
circumstances of lighting can be seen with great clearness. When 
we shall have secured the series of photographs taken with the 
rock artificially illuminated from many different directions, already 
mentioned as indispensable for further study, it is possible that 
new discoveries may be made. However, study of the rock itself 
and of photographs taken of it under such natural conditions of 
illumination as were available, since the new hypothesis occurred 
to me, make me little sanguine of discovering more to support the 
hypothesis than the Hathaway photograph already reveals. 

We leave this new theory, therefore, without any settled con- 
viction concerning its truth. By treating the X as an interpolation, 
we can see clearly, but without certainty that they were meant as 
such letters: MIGV . . . CORTER . . L, For the rest, except 
the date, we must imaginatively connect detached blotches of light, 
or use lines that are more naturally interpreted as parts of other 
figures, or wholly assume the former presence of lines now invisible. 
It is tantalizing to find so much in definite support of a theory 
that is consistent and plausible even though not very probable, 

never seem to have been bound hard and fast to one type of letter. Even in 
the same phrase various forms of the same letter occur" (Lettering in Orna- 
ment, 1902, p. 34). One of his illustrations shows the use of an angular and a 
rounded C in the same word; another is a modern imitation of mediaeval letter- 
ing, in which the curved E is used exclusively hi the midst of letters otherwise 
of Roman type. In Antiquitates Americanae (pp. 379, 380), Rafn discusses early 
and mediae val use of angular C and O. According to the Traite" du Numismatique 
du Moyen Age by A. Engel and R. Serrure (1905, iii. 1350 ff), the coins of 
Portugal between 1357 and 1481 employed both forms of E in the same words 
and phrases, the curved form occurring much more frequently than the other, 
and the majority of the other letters being of the now prevalent Roman forms. 
Conrad Haebler's Typographic Iberique du Quinzieme Siecle (1902) gives 
"Reproductions en facsimile de tous les caracteres typographique employe's en 
Espagne et en Portugal jusqu'a 1'ann^e 1500." His No. 42 shows a page of a 
book printed in 1485, having a border of capital letters hi which occur both the 
angular and the rounded C, both the angular and the rounded E, and an O 
that is intermediate. Such forms of letters as I make out in the inscription 
would have been appropriate for Miguel Cortereal to have employed in 1511. 


and not to find any sure trace of the remainder. At any rate, we 
can say with entire confidence that this theory, combined with the 
explanation of the rest of the figures as due to the Indians, has 
more of sound evidence in its favor than any of its earlier rivals. 
But this does not justify us in regarding it as more than an in- 
teresting possibility. 


Throughout this investigation we have found it possessed of many 
different features appealing to our interest a history full of in- 
cident and controversy, inviting to research; a succession of attempts 
at accurate portrayal; a searching inquiry into every possible theory 
that might reveal the truth as to origin and meaning; an incentive 
to imaginative flights that repel us if we are critical, but stimulate 
the sense of aesthetic enjoyment as works of art; extremes of pictur- 
esque humor and pedantic solemnity, of scientific sanity and baseless 
speculation, of sound truth-seeking scholarship and deliberate de- 
ception. Every phase and feature of it, however, has illustrated 
some principle of psychology, some variety of mental process, some 
type of human intellect and feeling. Our task could hardly be con- 
sidered well completed without a systematic examination of some of 
the psychological lessons that this complicated history can reveal. 
There are "sermons in stones," and an especially good one in this 
stone. No one person can hear and retell its whole content; but some 
of its principal features can be outlined. 

(A) As to the psychology of the producers of the petroglyph, we 
have as yet too little certain information. We may be sure, however, 
that those have read it wrongly who assume that, if Indian, later 
Indians would necessarily know of its origin and be able to interpret 
it correctly; or that Indians were too lazy and idle to have been 
capable of the work. Whether moved, however, by pure instinctive 
urge to be doing something, or by desire for amusement and for des- 
ultory picture-making, or by a feeling of self-glorification in recording 
personal symbols or exploits, or by a serious purpose to convey in- 
formation, or by a combination of these, are still matters of con- 
troversy whose solution must be left to the progress of historical 
and psychological ethnology. 




(B) Types of mental attitudes and types of men. A number of 
times during the course of this study attention has been called to the 
characteristics of a certain type of writer and deviser of theories in 
whose case "waking dreams" are taken for realities. Gebelin, Hill, 
Dammartin, Magnusen, Onffroy de Thoron, Fernald, will be re- 
called as examples. Other and saner, though perhaps less picturesque 
writers, have spoken of the productions of such men by various un- 
complimentary names: "air built fabrics" (Squier); "humbugs" 
(Bancroft); "learned trifling" (Blackwell); "enthusiastic rubbish" 
(Dall); "laborious trifling" (Diman); "antiquarian absurdities" (no. 
172), and many longer and equally disparaging phrases. Instead of 
describing again their peculiarities in terms already used, 1 I shall try 
to contrast them briefly with writers of other types and to discover 
somewhat of the underlying causes of the differences. 

At the other extreme from these Don Quixotes of science who have 
thus been singled out are the plain, matter-of-fact, unimaginative 
fellows who make everything dry and commonplace. When ac- 
companied by careful and exhaustive accumulation of evidence, their 
attitude becomes a part of the true method of science. But through 
haste, ignorance, prejudice or natural narrow-mindedness, they are 
quite as apt to be one-idea men as the others, and accordingly no 
more likely to hit upon the truth. These are little attracted by mys- 
teries. Consequently we have few of them writing upon our subject, 
and can mention as best examples only those who dismiss the matter 
briefly with the remark that the apparent inscription is the work of 
nature or accident only. We are thus safe in including, it would 
seem, at least Douglass, John Whipple, and the writer in the English 

Between the two extremes lie the more versatile minds. They 
possess imagination, but restrained and tempered by the more prosaic 
qualities. The combination may be an habitual one, or the two may 
alternate, either in different moods or as applied to different subjects. 
In either case, the result may be good or bad, according to the appro- 
priateness of the distribution. Such men, as well as the preceding, 
may lack the painstaking industry and the breadth of mind that 
lead to truth, and so be as unreliable as their fellows. At their best, 

1 Our Publications, xix. 71, 125. 


we find them holding fast to fact, so far as research has yet supplied 
it, but communicating it with grace of expression, with sympathetic 
understanding of opposing views, and with appreciation of its appeal 
to the aesthetic feelings as well as to the intellect. Strict in their 
acceptance of evidence and formulation of truth, they can then relax ' 
in order to enjoy its poetry and beauty, and even appreciate these 
qualities in the whole struggle for truth and thus in its stages of error 
as well as of attainment. 

Professor James was fond of drawing the distinction between what 
he called the easy-going and the strenuous moods. The distinction 
is much like that between our two extreme types, if we take it as 
referring not to amount but to tenseness of activity. Our first type 
is easy-going; but it may be exceedingly industrious and in that sense 
strenuous, and the other very little so. Another pair of terms, soft 
and hard, among those used by James, comes nearer to expressing 
the essence of our distinction. I shall call them, however, by names 
that apply both to the type and to its underlying causes: first, the 
"lax" or "relaxed;" at opposite extreme, the "tense;" between, the 
"supple." For I believe that it is just these characters of muscular 
adjustment attending the processes of observing, remembering, rea- 
soning, acting and feeling that determine the mental and personal 
differences to which attention has been called. At their greatest 
extremes, laxness becomes flabby and tenseness becomes rigid and 
cramped. When crystallized into abiding personal traits these two, 
whether as greater or more moderate extremes, become unchanging 
.types of personality. But in those who are supple of mind and muscle 
they rarely become extreme, and are alternating attitudes of mind 
or merge into a permanent attitude of poise or balance. In every 
case, the relaxed attitude is favorable to imagination and feeling, and 
also, if not at the same tune narrow, to sympathetic understanding 
of others. Tenseness, if too firm and unadaptable, like imagination 
and feeling unrestrained, leads to nothing admirable; but when it 
means perfect self-adjustment to conditions, delicately changing 
with their changing character, it is the foundation of accurate and 
exact observation and thought. The supple, balanced attitude is 
ready to meet either demand, and thus is best adapted to arrive at 
wide-visioned truth in all its forms. We have met with numerous 
examples of its possession by the partakers in our discussions, more 



or less successful according to the range of information and degree 
of attention devoted to the subject. It hardly demands further 
description. About the extremer types much further may be said. 

A few simple illustrations will assist in realizing the unescapable 
dependence of the mental types and attitudes on muscular tenden- 
cies. We know that mental relaxation demands bodily relaxation, 
and the two together favor the free play of fancy and -disconnected 
ideas; while to observe accurately and to reason logically requires 
an alertness and appropriate adjustment of muscles as well as of 
mind. There are intoxicants and drugs that render exact observa- 
tion impossible, foster illusions, stimulate wild trains of imagery and 
thought, diminish control in speech, expression and action; and they 
accomplish it largely through relaxing the muscular adjustments 
and controls. On the other hand, the words keen, alert, vigorous, 
eager, intent, virile, call attention to conditions of muscular tonus 
as well as of mind, that are bound to one another indissolubly. The 
following simple experiment is instructive. When we close the eyes, 
the muscles of accommodation and of convergence usually relax, but 
we can keep them adjusted as if we were still looking attentively at 
some definite object at some definite distance. Furthermore, with 
the eyes closed, we can still see: light penetrates through the eyelids; 
after effects of preceding stimulation still linger on the retina; inner 
stimuli of pressure and chemical change maintain the constant 
presence of what is called the ideo-retinal light a fine, dancing, 
drifting mist that can be seen with closed eyes or by looking into 
dark spaces; and varying visual images may seem to occupy the 
field of visible light due to these different causes. We usually fail 
to observe these phenomena, through lack of interest and through 
their having no bearing on what we accept as real, practical facts. 
Yet we may observe them if we will, or, unobserved themselves, 
they may contribute much or little to the nature of our thoughts 
and imagery. The significant thing that I find to be true of them is 
this: with eyes closed and muscles relaxed, it is impossible to observe 
just what visual phenomena actually proceed from retinal activities, 
and centrally originating images are stimulated, merging with and 
often obscuring the actual sensations; while with muscles adjusted 
as for real seeing, the images vanish and the genuine retinal phe- 
nomena appear. As in seeing of real objects, so in this seeing with 


closed eyes, exactly adjusted convergence and accommodation of eyes 
and of other muscles that assist in close attention are essential to 
reliable observation, and loose adjustment tends to substitute the 
imagined for the real. 

Yet our loose-muscled and loose-minded friends are no less con- 
fident of the reality of their visions than are those whose felicitous ad- 
justments make their observations and reasonings more trustworthy, 
or those who make another type of error through ill-adjustment aris- 
ing from excessive and unadaptable tenseness. Confidence and sure- 
ness of being right as readily attend narrow-visioned error as wide- 
visioned truth. The lax and the over-tense are very liable to be 
narrow-minded; and the supple may be so, on some or all subjects, 
through ignorance, or haste, or laziness, or forgetfulness, or lack of 
system, or emotional appeal, or habit, or other causes. In all three 
types, the single unopposed idea seems right, since belief arises as 
inevitably from absence of anything that contradicts as from the 
triumph of well-reasoned ideas. The confidence, therefore, with 
which anyone asserts that he has observed a fact, or remembers 
clearly, or knows a thing to be true, cannot be accepted as having 
in itself any value as evidence. It may attach to any kind of an 
idea, theory, or supposed fact. It will have different attendant 
characteristics, however, in the different types. In the loose adjust- 
ment to realities of those who pin their faith to figments, it is 
more apt to be a genial ignoring of other possibilities; while at 
the opposite extreme it is an active and obstinate hostility toward 

These considerations are now, perhaps, sufficiently well developed 
to enable us to see their application in this particular study. En- 
deavoring to avoid undue complication, we may consider the facts 
of chief interest in the form of two principles. 

(a) Typical laxity or tenseness, as permanent type or temporary 
attitude, affects the whole range of mental processes and action. 
For illustrations, we must here resort exclusively to the loose type, 
for there are too few of the opposite kind in our history and they treat 
the subject too briefly to make it possible to dissect them. But this 
is just the kind of a mystery to appeal to the imaginative and induce 
them to lay bare their whole nature. Accordingly we find the ad- 
vocates of startling theories consistently careless and inaccurate 



- <i V - 




in observation, uncritical and inexact in dealing with their accepted 
sources, unsystematic and often self-contradictory and illogical in 
their theories, confused and ungrammatical in their methods of ex- 
pression. Of the weird and wonderful objects that they see depicted 
in the drawings we need not remind ourselves in detail. Such care- 
less spellings as Deighton, Digthon, Dydon, Taunston, Jaunston, 
and Asson-neck may be considered examples of loose observation. 
So also may be the seeing of the rock near the middle of the river by 
J. V. C. Smith, the erroneous seeing of a cast of Dighton Rock by 
Wilson where none was exhibited, and many more. Even in such 
cases defective observation cannot be wholly separated from faulty 
memory, and this is even more true where plain misinformation, 
careless reading, distortion of memory and lack of verification inex- 
tricably intermingled lead to (1) misstatements of historical facts, 
such as: Smith's Creek as the name of Assonet River (on Rafn's 
map); no similar Indian inscriptions; rock known to earliest settlers; 
tradition has immemorially attributed it to the Northmen; drawings 
were published as early as 1680; Washington was taken to the rock; 
Bancroft found the stone; casts were sent to Denmark; a meeting .of 
protest against removal was held in Boston; or (2) the misquota- 
tion of statements of others, as : Ira Hill's omission of essential parts 
of the Job Gardner drawing; Beamish's reference to Bristol County 
instead of our country; Vallancey's statement that Greenwood's 
drawing was sent to Gebelin; the mistaken statements that Magnusen 
found the word "Northmen" in the M (Beamish, Schoolcraft), 
or in the inverted Y (Gravier), or on the breast of the human figure 
(Onffroy) ; that the French Academy called it Punic (Holmes, Thomas) ; 
that Danforth made claims for the accuracy of his own drawing (Webb, 
Wilson). It is more nearly plain memory that is at fault in case of 
the illusion that the marks on the rock are growing perceptibly 
fainter; in Webb's belief that his committee made the shaded lines; 
in Rafn's assigning the date 1830 to the Rhode Island drawing. 
Imagination is seen vigorously at work in the strange and varied in- 
terpretations of the meanings of particular figures, and in the other 
airy fancies characteristic of the people we are discussing. Defective 
weighing of evidence, illogical deductions, loose and inconsistent 
systems of ideas combine as foundation for a great majority of the 
theories advanced, and in such particular cases as: Rafn's confusion 


as to the dates of Thorfinn's winters in Vinland; Mathieu's confusion 
of the two Ins; various inconsistencies to which attention has been 
called in the expositions of Ira Hill, of Dam martin, of Fernald and 
others. The feelings are involved with the other special causes in 
almost all of the above instances. They account for the acceptance 
as well as the origination of theories that pleasantly stimulate the 
imagination and possess for any one a poetic appeal. They arouse 
a bias that leads to such unfounded statements as that opponents 
tacitly admit their errors (Vallancey, Domenech, Horsford), or are 
influenced by unworthy motives (McLean, Webb, Melville); that 
there was no interest in the rock in Massachusetts before a certain 
date (McLean) ; that small vessels can hardly pass in Taunton River 
(Bancroft); that Indians were ignorant of the existence of the rock 
(Yates, Webb, Bodfish) ; that therefore it must be ancient and foreign 
(Greenwood, etc.). Inaptness, inexactness, confusion or bias in ac- 
tion manifest themselves in deliberate misrepresentation, of which 
we have few indubitable cases; but otherwise, since we deal here only 
with men's written utterances, mainly in their manner of expression. 
Misspellings such as have been cited, or inexact, careless and biased 
copying of drawings, involve features of action. Failure to verify 
statements is an action-quality, and a common one. Most prominent 
evidence of the effect upon expression of this all-pervading malady 
of laxness is the fact that its most extreme exponents are almost 
sure to be confused in their arrangement of data and ungrammatical 
in their manner of speech. Ira Hill, Asahel Davis, and Fernald are 
shining examples. Any one, in moments of laxity or in dealing with 
special topics, may make errors of any of the kinds here noted, 
without implication that their makers belong habitually to the 
lax type. But the incurably lax-minded exhibits a lax adjustment 
of muscles in all of his processes that renders exactness, clarity and 
consistency impossible in any field of mental activity, and makes 
him liable to errors and inadequacies of all varieties. 

(b) When narrowness of vision, habitual or occasional, combines 
with these muscularly founded qualities, it produces a number of 
characteristic manifestations. The idea that appeals leaves no room 
for rivals, and its possessor when confronted with other possibilities, 
unless confused or vacillating, must either ignore their existence or 
disparage then- importance. Such people are necessarily unsympa- 


thetic, seeing no merit or virtue in their opponents. In argument, if 
driven from one defence they resort to a second, and on demolishment 
of that they resort again to the first as though it had never been 
touched. They cannot be doubters, for that attitude demands 
sufficient breadth to entertain various possibilities at once. They 
therefore have complete confidence in their own reliability and the 
truth of their own beliefs. These facts are well illustrated throughout 
the discussions that we have been following. Besides those that 
readily suggest themselves, we can see a good example in the con- 
viction expressed by many of those who have drawn or photographed 
the inscription that their productions are faithful depictions. In 
twelve cases there is definite mention of the care used or merit of 
the result. Of these, one person only expresses doubt as to his ac- 
curacy or care, except in the two cases of Kendall and Seager, one 
of whom deliberately tries to leave in obscurity what is obscure on 
the rock and emphasizes the impossibility of making any accurate 
drawing, and the other of whom exhibits a minimum' only of the 
clearest lines. As against these three, there are nine who emphasize 
the great care employed to trace only real indentures, and five of 
these add that they have omitted doubtful cases where there seemed 
to be indentures. We may be sure that probably as large a proportion 
of the undescribed cases were attended by an equal confidence. Yet 
the great diversity of results shows that such confidence must have 
been often ill founded. Kendall has told us how the drawing or 
chalking of a definite line in many instances must close the mind 
to a score of alternative possibilities. Thus, even when there is no 
natural disposition to narrow-mindedness, it is almost inevitably 
produced in the process of chalking or drawing the rock, except in 
the rare instances where one is content to leave his product vague 
and unsatisfying. 

Besides these general effects, narrow vision produces differing 
results in our different types. Of the more balanced kind, we need 
only say that it makes them superficial, hence careless and in- 
exact. In the others, entertaining no doubts as to the correctness 
of their views, it is apt to induce a large self-importance, but differ- 
ently manifested in the two. The loose type is more genial, the tense 
more blustering. The former have solved deep mysteries and made 
great discoveries: Mathieu, of the art of reading hieroglyphics; 


Onffroy de Thoron, of the primitive language; Fernald, of the same, 
and of the primitive alphabet of lines; Lundy, of the Mongolian 
symbolism of writing; Dammartin, of the origin of all alphabetic 
characters in the constellations. Gebelin was an expert and highly 
gifted reader of Phoenician characters, Samuel Harris an almost 
supernatural linguist, Magnusen a master of runes. These men 
are not often combative, and for the most part ignore alternative 
views, or dismiss them with the easy grace with which Onffroy dis- 
posed of the "inventions" of Rafn and the "fantastic translations " 
of the Friday lecturers. We are more amused than offended by their 
pretentious claims. But those who are over-tense as well as over- 
narrow, unless kept servile by authority, are the easiest victims of 
an offensive megalomania which makes them blind ruthless Huns, 
arrogant, pompous, blustering, dealing out contempt, abuse and 
ridicule to their enemies. Our history has furnished us with a few 
mild illustrations of the type, which we see at work in Douglass's 
attitude toward Cotton Mather, in Vallancey as described by Led- 
wich, and in a few other instances where abuse takes the place of 
argument. The best example I have found is contained in a private 
letter of long ago which, as it was not designed for publication, I 
quote without mention of its author. As so often in like cases, he 
appears to mirror his own egotism in the abusive terms which he 
applies to those whose beliefs do not agree with his: 

There are many wise-acres in this country and Europe whose zeal 
far outstrips their wisdom and who endeavor to make up for want of 
knowledge by bold assertions and wholesale statements. With these 
would-be wise ones the [advocates of a certain theory] have constituted 
a fruitful topic for gibeS and jeers; in their self-conceit and gross igno- 
rance, they have deemed themselves amply qualified to sit in judgment, 
and with a boldness of which " none but itself can be its parallel," they 
have not hesitated to act as judges, jurors and witnesses in the case at 
issue. And who has by them been often arraigned as a set of ignora- 
muses, historic falsifiers, and visionary theorists? At one time these 
"Know-E very things" labored most vigorously to break the Dighton 
Rock to pieces. 

(C) The extent to which apperception enters into all intellectual 
processes is one of the clearest facts to which our studies contribute 
evidence. We neither perceive nor believe anything on the basis of 


presented data alone. By themselves they are always too meagre 
and too detached to possess any significance at all. They must be 
given meaning, distinction, relation, completer filling and objective 
reality by aid of our own reactions and of our organized past ex- 
perience before they can become for us objects or truths. It is this 
process that is called apperception. There is a class of modern realists 
who deny or minimize its existence; but their claims are irreconcil- 
able with sound handling of the facts, and incapable of detailed 
organization and explanation of them. Whenever we perceive an 
object, as by looking at it, it is not the object itself, complete and 
unchanged, that in some mysterious! manner enters into the mind; 
nor the mind, looking out from itself, that magically knows the 
genuine external reality as it actually exists there outside the mind; 
nor an incomprehensible relation between the two that itself is the 
knowing. To be acceptable, a scientific hypothesis must take into 
account every single one of the pertinent indubitable facts, fit each 
into its definite place in a harmonious system, account for all dis- 
tinctions and variations and conditions. These forms of realism 
treat all cases by the one invariable formula, make but the one un- 
differentiated and unsupported claim, possess plausibility only as 
long as they confine themselves to generalities, and have no power 
to enter into the minute explanation of the million details and dis- 
tinctions that must be examined and assigned each to its separate 
definite cause. They are all mere hocus-pocus and magic. A magic 
power or explanation is one that, without any causally determined 
differences in itself, is supposed to create or account for a variety of 
results. A scientific cause or explanation is one within which is a 
causally determined difference for each difference that is to be 
explained. There is but one account of the facts which, while it has 
not solved all problems, is yet inherently capable of accomplishing 
the task. 

The things outside us do not enter our senses. Nor do they throw 
off sensations which faithfully represent them and succeed in pene- 
trating the mind. Instead, the process is a complex one. The 
forces of light, heat, pressure, molecular activity, and the others, 
themselves determined by the activities of what we call the objects 
outside us and the internal activities of our own bodies, excite appro- 
priate sense-organs to a discharge of their stored neural energies. 


These set cortical cells in our brains into activity, and when this 
happens there arise as facts of consciousness, by a law which most 
psychologists accept as parallelism, the phenomena that we call 
sensations. These are wholly mental contents and cannot by any 
possibility resemble in the slightest particular the physical things 
and qualities and forces which have aroused them. But these 
sensations, though in our minds, we do not yet know. By wholly 
unconscious but accountable processes, we select certain ones among 
them all at any particular moment and neglect the rest; then add 
to these a mass of selected "kinaesthetic" sensations arising from our 
own muscular adjustments to the ones first named; then incorporate 
these into an organized mass of earlier sense-experiences, into which 
they will acceptably fit; then substitute some features involved in 
the latter for some of the sensations that are actually presented; 
then, instead of realizing that we have done any of these things and 
that the product is wholly in the mind, we believe it to have existence 
outside us; and then at last numerous as the stages are, for us 
they appear practically instantaneous we become aware of the 
complex "externalized" fabric, and believe it to be the observed 
external object. Such is the process of apperception. Without it we 
can observe nothing, not even the plain original sensations. It enters 
necessarily into what we call correct perception as well as into illusion, 
into that of the psychologist, the physical scientist, the plain man, as 
well as of the visionary. It is less easy to prove it for ordinary 
clear perception, especially with the materials furnished us in this 
study, than for the perception of faint and confused objects. In the 
case of the latter it can be made very evident. 

A few years ago there were observed, at a laboratory in Nancy, 
faintly visible emanations of a new kind, which were called n-rays. 
A whole series of definite properties was worked out for them, a 
considerable number of reputable scientists confirmed them, a long 
series of scientific papers was written concerning them and they 
were proved in the end to be purely subjective phenomena. Nothing 
could have established more clearly the fact that it is impossible for 
anyone to distinguish between faint objective and vivid subjective 
appearances. If rejected, it is not because anyone is acute enough 
to make this distinction, but because their behavior is reconcilable 
only with subjective and not with objective existences. If they 


accord with all the rest of what he knows and believes about external 
facts, he must class them with the latter. Something similar is true 
of plainly visible external things. For a simple case, take a series of 
parallel lines and mentally group thm together in pairs. The 
spaces between them are all alike, but they will no longer appear so. 
Within a group, the space takes on the appearance of a surface 
bounded by the lines; between groups are mere emptinesses. Or 
examine a puzzle-picture, or such ambiguous pictures as the one that 
may be seen either as a duck or as a rabbit, or the diagrams of am- 
biguous perspective shown in many text-books on psychology. 
Apperception, aided by appropriate muscular adjustments and their 
resulting kinaesthetic sensations, makes each alternative real in its 
turn. In extreme cases, like that of the opium-stimulated brain, 
everything may be thus ambiguous. Again, everyone knows how 
easy it is to see pictures that at least almost seem real things in 
clouds, in flames and embers, in wall-paper patterns, in the graining 
of wood and veining of marble, in frost-covered window-panes. A 
sheet of marbled paper is inserted in Sterne's Tristram Shandy as 
material for the exercise of this diversion. Irregular ink-blots are 
excellent material. In commenting on Dammartin, we demon- 
strated that any desired outline figure could be found in the constel- 
lations. Any complex collection where something is to be taken as 
real and some parts ignored as irrelevant serves this purpose. What 
is seen in these instances we know to be our own fanciful creation, 
but only because we know that the things seen cannot possibly exist 
in those places. Our belief about them will be very different if 
nothing in our experience contradicts their objective reality. When- 
ever we can, we tend to find something definite in the faint and 
orderly in the confused and to trust what we find, if it and other 
things and our system of beliefs will permit it. There is a pleasure 
in seeing uncertainties and irregularities resolve themselves into 
definite form, and the forms take on connected and acceptable 
meaning. If the critical attitude be not aroused or find no support, if 
no conflicting appearances or beliefs occur to mind, if rival possibili- 
ties arouse no liking, the apperceptively constructed object must be 
believed to be external. In that very way we construct all objects 
that we actually do accept as genuinely perceived, even the most 
sure and familiar ones. 


Some of the alleged indentures of Dighton Rock are unquestion- 
ably there, artificially carved upon it. But aside from them it offers 
an ideal surface for these borderland apperceptions which may or 
may not represent objective facts. Examination either of the rock 
itself or of a clear photograph of it reveals both features under dis- 
cussion an abundance of lines that are faint and doubtful, and a 
vast confusion of other marks that are clearly observable and may 
or may not be artificial. There are numberless little pittings and 
protrusions, irregularities of texture, almost eroded remnants of 
indecipherable characters, minute cracks, light-reflections varying 
from dark to bright forming dots and lines and blotches, small 
differences of color. Such materials can be woven together apper- 
ceptively into a thousand varying forms. For the purpose of com- 
paring the different drawings, none of which can be exact enough to 
show the precise position on the rock where each figure belongs, I 
tried at one time to identify and mark on the Burgess photograph 
every figure that had ever been drawn or chalked, and thus to pro- 
duce a composite representation of them all. I found the task almost 
impossible, not because I could not discover the figures in any case, 
but because I could see many of them in too many different places. 
For instance, at the extreme left of the rock some of the drawings 
show a P, which at different times I placed in at least four plausible 
positions; and as to others I was equally uncertain. My notes 
state that "after prolonged and close searching, I got so that I 
could find any given figure almost anywhere." 

Those who are cautious and instructed in the dangers will know 
enough not to trust any but the most indubitable of the figures they 
see. But even they will find it difficult to know where to draw the 
line between the sure and the doubtful. Kendall and Seager were the 
most cautious draughtsmen who ever viewed the rock; yet their 
drawings are very different. Very few are sufficiently instructed to 
be cautious. To look for what has been carved there insures the 
seeing of something among the thousand possibilities. The very see- 
ing of a plausible figure makes it seem to be actually present on the 
rock. It may dissolve and give place to another, and if not satisfying 
it probably will. But the situation here differs from that when we 
are deliberately looking for what we know will be only dream- 
pictures. We can adopt that attitude toward the rock or its photo- 


graph; but not if we are earnestly trying to discover everything 
possible of what was originally carved there. Then, any plausible 
and consistent appearance tends to be taken as objective and to 
inhibit the many alternative and mutually exclusive things that 
might have been seen in the same place. The lines and dots have 
been apperceived into an object. The fact that it is one's own dis- 
covery gives it strength. If, in addition, it for any reason appeals 
to the feelings, or best among various possibilities fits in with a pre- 
formed hypothesis, its full acceptance is almost inevitable. 

It is easy to see why the many drawings and chalkings are so 
definite and likewise so different. Some of the causes are external. 
The lighting of the rock differs greatly with the position of the sun, 
and is of exceedingly great importance for the relative observability 
and distinctness of different figures. So also is the position of the 
observer. Carelessness and varying skill have some influence. But 
the most potent cause of all lies in the apperceptive factors. For 
the most part these make for variety, although within rather definite 
limitations, for no one yields to unrestrained imagination but rejects 
such apperceptions as have no plausible basis in actual objective 
data. Yet in some cases the objective lines may be most readily 
apperceived in a manner that is almost uniform and that nevertheless 
may be mistaken, as in case of the small human figure seen by nearly 
all observers where I now find the date 1511 with circles above and 
below it. The apperceptive possibilities wherever the lines are not 
sure and definite are so numerous that no one has yet exhausted 
them. We can constantly find new and unsuspected letters and 
figures with more or less of confidence in their actual presence on the 
rock. They may come by accident, as in case of the 1511, or by defi- 
nitely looking for them under the inspiration of a new theory as to 
what may be there, as in case of my discovery of the Cortereal. 
Very few if any of the draughtsmen and chalkers, I think, have been 
biased by definite ideas beforehand of figures they wished to find, ex- 
cept in so far as they have been influenced by knowledge of previous 
depictions. Had they been so, they would probably have found 
what they sought. Moreover, they would almost inevitably have 
been in error, for there can be but one right theory, but there may 
be devised a host of wrong ones. Yet we must realize that bias in the 
one right direction may be as essential to the correct solution of 


some difficult scientific problems, as bias in the numberless wrong 
directions is unfavorable. In dealing with obscure and ambiguous 
phenomena, the genuine truth about them is more likely to be per- 
ceived after the hypothesis that later proves to be the correct one 
has suggested exactly what to look for. 

If anyone finds it difficult to believe that apperception can create 
objective fact, or to see how so many different representations can have 
been honestly made from the same model, it may be recommended 
that he study for himself the Burgess or the Hathaway photograph. 
Let him try to localize in the photograph the lines of any particular 
drawing, or make his own drawing showing every line that he thinks 
is probably artificial. He can inevitably bring himself to the dis- 
covery of any desired figure, though not necessarily with sufficient 
clearness to satisfy him. His own independent depiction will differ, 
if made detailed enough, for all except well marked lines, from any 
others. Moreover, the psychology of the chalking process can be 
readily and experimentally studied in the same manner. Before 
rendering any lines of the photograph more distinct by means of ink 
or pencil, there are numerous possibilities as to what may be seen 
in a given region. But once mark a line clearly, and many of these 
possibilities are obscured or vanish. A set is established toward seeing 
one or more definite figures, instead of many possible ones. The 
fixing of one line more nearly determines its neighbors; until finally, 
a single definite and solely visible figure stands out, where at first 
others might equally well have been seen. Had one started by mark- 
ing some other line, the resulting figure would have turned out, in 
many instances, a very different one. 

There is now one point more to develop before we close this study. 
We form our system of beliefs, or our interpretation of any particular 
phenomenon, by a process very like the apperception that has just 
been described. We sift and select among the materials actually 
given, ignoring what rightly or wrongly we regard as irrelevant. We 
fill out the inadequacies of the rest, rounding it into a full idea, by 
aid of our stored experience and completing hypotheses. According 
to the scientific strictness or the looseness and insufficiency of our 
apperceptive systems, the result is more or less able to bear the 
scrutiny of sound criticism. Of all our interpreters and theorizers 
thus far, only the advocates of Indian origin, or those who have 


cautiously refrained from forming any final opinion, have possessed 
a system of interpretative beliefs into which the data given by the 
drawings could fit in such a manner as to yield truth. It may be 
or may not be that our new hypothesis concerning Miguel Corte- 
real can eventually be added to the other that has scientific warrant. 
With respect to it, we are keeping ourselves within strict scientific 
limits by claiming for it no more than a present plausibility and 
such ultimate fate as future research may determine. The extremest 
methods of indefensible yet very natural interpretation are those 
that accept particular pictures as symbolizing entire incidents or 
characters in a story, with no other warrant than consistency with 
their own beliefs, or that regard single supposed letters as initials of 
complete words. There is very little difference in principle between 
these two procedures. They are essentially identical with one of 
the cabalistic methods called notarikon, wherein every letter of a 
word is taken as the initial or abbreviation of another word, so that 
from the letters of a single word a complete sentence may be formed. 
Buckingham Smith used a mild form of this process. It is perhaps 
not unlikely that Lundy's Chinese radicals were used in a similar 
manner. When the letters to be thus used are not taken in succes- 
sion but selected at random from a large collection in any desired 
order, there are no limits to what they may be made to mean. 
Fernald permitted us a few insights into his manner of finding the 
meanings he wanted. It was not wholly crazy and baseless, for there 
was something of system in it. But the system, wherever we found 
it possible to follow its workings, was this super-cabalistic notarikon; 
and it is highly probable that it is the same whereby he obtained 
his six all different yet all true translations of Dighton Rock. It is 
in a similar manner that the discoverers of the various ciphers which 
prove that Bacon was the author of the works of Shakespeare and 
of other writers have reached their results. In a system of materials 
sufficiently complex, by the use of a cipher sufficiently elastic, any type 
of message may be discovered. Certainly the works of Shakespeare 
are sufficiently complex; and I have been informed by one who has 
a profound acquaintance with all the ciphers, including some very 
recent ones, that these are all sufficiently elastic to account for the 
results. Exactly the same can be said of Dighton Rock. The 
interpreters have worked with the drawings, not with the rock itself. 


Yet even these have offered a sufficient variety of figures and com- 
plexity of lines to permit the finding among them of pictures and 
apparent letters to furnish seeming evidence, by means of the 
methods alluded to, for practically any theory that any one may 
have the ingenuity to devise. This does not imply that all theories 
must necessarily be equally worthless, but rather that we must use 
scientific methods, and not methods analogous to notarikon or 
Baconian ciphers, in reaching them. 


It will be helpful toward a grasp of this complex study in its en- 
tirety to make a very few summarizing statements. Of independent 
attempts to represent faithfully the appearance of the inscriptions, in 
whole or in part, aside from my own, we have found forty-one. The 
earliest was in 1680. Twenty-two of them are drawings of the face, 
but six of these are now undiscoverable. One is a drawing of inscrip- 
tions on the shoreward slope. Two are ink-impressions, one a plaster 
cast. The remaining fifteen are photographs, of which the earliest, 
an alleged daguerreotype of 1840, cannot now be found. For all 
the photographs except two the supposed artificial lines were bright- 
ened and thus unreliably interpreted by means of chalking or some 
similar process. 

Of theories advanced to account for the origin of the inscriptions, 
in whole or in part, we might enumerate more or fewer according to 
whether we include vague allusions and statements of mere possi- 
bility as well as completely formed and defended theories, according 
to the degree to which we make distinctions among those that differ 
only slightly, and according to whether we admit parodies as well 
as seriously entertained views. Our list below includes all of these 
varieties, and gives a separate number to each one that, though it refer 
to the same people as another, may be considered a different and 
independent theory. In a parallel column, with separate numbers, 
are the names of those who have presented a translation, complete or 
partial, in harmony with the parallel theory; and even an assignment 
of meaning to one or two figures or characters is classed for this 
purpose as a translation. The order is roughly that of the antiquity 
assigned to the inscription: 











Not satisfactorily explained. 

The work of Nature only. 

Egyptian priests, 2700 B.C. (a criti- 
cism, not a serious theory). 

In, Prince of Atlantis, 2102 B.C. 

Phoenicians or Carthaginians. 

A definite Phoenician expedition. 

Tyrians and Jews, about 1000 B.C. 

Another Phoenician adventurer, about 
330 B.C. 

A Hebrew people; the Lost Tribes. 



yEgypto-Drosticks (a hoax). 



Romans; also Christ and others. 

Scythians or Tartars. 



The Norse Colony of Thorfinn, about 
1008 A.D. 

The Norse Bjarna (a parody). 

Prince Madoc, about 1170 A.D. 

The Devil (humorously suggested as 
what ought to have been Cotton 
Mather's theory). 

An early native race, predecessor of 
the Indians. 

The Indians, by accident in sharpen- 
ing arrows. 

The Indians, as an actual record or 

Miguel Cortereal, 1511. 

A Roman Catholic missionary, about 

Verrazano's expedition. 

Other early English sailors. 


American colonists or boys. 

Modern visitors with sticks and canes. 

Initials undoubtedly carved by visi- 
tors not Indian, since 1620, some 


1. The author. 

2. Mathieu. 

3. Yates and Moulton. 

4. Gebelin. 

5. Ira Hill. 

6. Onffroy de Tnoron. 

7. Samuel Harris. 

8. Dammartin. 

9. Fernald. 

10. Lundy. 
fll. Magnusen. 
\ 13. Gravier. 

14. Lowell. 

12. Rain. 

15. Kendall's Mohawk Chief. 

16. Chingwauk. 17. John Davia. 

18. The author. 

19. Buckingham Smith. 

20. Perhaps Danforth. 

Excluding four theories that were not seriously advanced, and 
nine others that have been barely suggested as possibilities without 
any defence of them, there remain twenty theories that have been 
definitely held and defended. 

In connection with this amazing variety of theories as to origin 
and of beliefs as to meaning of the inscriptions in general, it is exceed- 
ingly interesting to bring together the different meanings that have 
been assigned to particular figures. The entire assembly of lines to 
the left of the large human figure has been interpreted as a Phoenician 


date, an Egyptian date, zodiacal constellations, Thorfinn's ship and 
its surroundings, the camp at Straumfiord, the village of the Assonets. 
One character within it, sometimes drawn like the letter P, has been 
a Phoenician letter, an Egyptian monogram, a rune, a constellation, 
a noose-trap. The human figure itself has played the role of Neptune, 
Gudrida, Thorfinn, a person killed by an animal, a hunter, an idol, 
the Chief Mong, the constellation Virgo, the first American king 
and tyrant. The small figure at its feet possesses versatility enough 
to pose as a priest, as Chief Mong's sister, Thorfinn's baby son 
Snorre, Horus as son of the virgin goddess, a buried person with 
tears upon and near him, a part of the constellation Leo, a symbol 
of the second month of the tenth year of the reign of Solomon, and a 
portion of the date 1511 with circles above and below it. The clear- 
cut triangular figures in the uppermost central region are a Cartha- 
ginian camp, a seer's lodge, a collection of constellations about the 
northern Pole, a deer-trap, a shield. The apparently alphabetic 
characters near the centre are the name Thorfins, the name Cor- 
tereal, the constellation Aries, the constellation Gemini, the Icelandic 
word OR, the Phoenician words shalal le-nagar oneg, or a collection 
of indecipherable non-alphabetic lines. The famous animal below 
this has figured as a beaver, an unnamed dangerous animal, a deer, 
a composite animal with insect's wing, a bull, a winged and horned 
Pegasus, an unknown Asiatic animal, a leopard, a lynx, a constella- 
tion, a collection of leaves and vines symbolizing a fertile land, a 
map of the coasts of Europe, and it might perhaps just as well 
represent a coon, a skunk, or a chipmunk. The lines next rightward 
of the three last mentioned figures include a deer-trap, a human 
trunk, a horse, a constellation or two, Thorfinn's shield, Thorfinn 
himself, a canopy over a throne, a wooden idol, a map of the Medi- 
terranean. We might thus continue at great length; but enough has 
surely been given to discourage anyone acquainted with these facts 
from making further attempts to assign unsupported meanings to 
any portions of the inscription. 

It has been our task to assemble every discoverable fact concerning 
this Writing Rock "filled with strange characters," so remarkable 
for the long continued interest which it has aroused and for its many- 
sided appeal to investigation and controversy. Myth, legend and 
history, archaeology and ethnology, religion and aesthetics, astron- 



omy and geology, the practical arts of faithful delineation, funda- 
mental scientific method and psychology, all have been drawn into 
the discussion. In so manifold and complete a way has this rock, by 
human aid, expressed its nature, that its story has been not merely 
a record of events and facts, but almost the dramatic unfolding of a 
spiritual personality, like that of the struggle and development of a 
progressing human life. A dead rock, if exhaustively studied, is not 
a dead rock merely, but the incarnation of a living, struggling, 
growing, self -perfecting Idea; and of such is the Kingdom of Truth. 


XXXII Photograph by Charles A. Hathaway, Jr., 1907, frontispiece. 
XXXIII View or Sketch by John R. Bartlett, 1834, from a photograph of 
the original in the Royal Library, Copenhagen, between pages 

XXXIII Rafn's Reproduction of Bartlett's View or Sketch, 1837, from An- 

tiquitates Americans, 1837, Tab. X, between pages 298-299. 

XXXIV Rhode Island Historical Society's Drawing, 1834, from a photograph 

of the original in the Royal Library, Copenhagen, between pages 

XXXTV Rafn's so-called "Rhode Island Historical Society's 1830" Drawing, 

1837, from Antiquitates Americans, 1837, Tab. XII, Plate IX, 

between pages 308-309. 
XXXV Drawing of alleged Roman Letters (Fig. E), 1847; and Combination 

of the Drawings of 1789 and 1837, by Henry R. Schoolcraft, 1851, 

in Schoolcraft's History of the Indian Tribes, 1851, I, Plate 36, 

facing page 316. 
XXXVI Daguerreotype by Captain Seth Eastman, 1853, from Schoolcraft's 

History of the Indian Tribes, 1854, IV, Plate 14, facing page 324. 
XXXVII Lithograph by George A. Shove, 1864, facing page 332. 

XXXVIII Drawing by Edward Seager, 1864, from the original in the posses- 
sion of the American Antiquarian Society, facing page 342. 

XXXIX Davis-Gardner Stereoscopic View, 1873, facing page 352. 
XL Harrison-Gardner Photograph, 1875, facing page 362. 
XLI Plaster Cast by Lucien I.. Blake, 1876, from a photograph in the 
Manuscript Catalogue of the Gilbert Museum, Amherst College, 
facing page 372. 
XLII Photograph by Frank S. Davis, September 11, 1893, facing page 


XLII Photograph by Frank S. Davis, January 27, 1894, facing page 382. 
XLIII Photograph by Frank S. Davis, 1894, facing page 392. 
XLIII Post-Card issued by Charles W. Chace, about 1900, facing page 392. 


XLIV Old Colony Historical Society Photograph, 1902, facing page 402. 

XLV Photograph by Charles R. Tucker, 1903, facing page 412. 

XLV Photograph by Carlton Grinnell, about 1907, facing page 412. 

XLVI William P. Eddy's Photograph, 1908, facing page 422. 

XLVI Post-Card issued by G. K. Wilbur, 1913, facing page 422. 

XLVII Dighton Rock as seen from the Shore, from a photograph by Charles 
W. Brown, May 15, 1915, facing page 432. 

Fig. 5 Drawing of Shoreward Side of Dighton Rock by Charles A. Fernald, 

1903, from Fernald's Universal International Genealogy, 1910, Plate 

70, page 33, on page 366. 
Fig. 6 Drawing by John W. Barber, 1839, from Barber's Historical Collections 

of Massachusetts, page 117, on page 379. 
Fig. 7 Detail of Dighton Rock, drawn by E. B. Delabarre, March, 1919, on 

page 416. 


This bibliography aims to record all cases of mention as well as of 
discussion of Dighton Rock that have come to the writer's attention. 
It includes not only printed sources, but letters, manuscripts, draw- 
ings and photographs, and occasionally incidents of importance. A 
very few cases are included where the rock itself is not directly men- 
tioned, but where judgment concerning it is implied in such state- 
ments as that Rafn's conclusions are to be fully trusted, or that there 
are no discoverable vestiges of the early Norse visits. 

The items in the alphabetical list (A) are numbered simply for 
convenience of reference in the footnotes to the present paper and 
in the chronological list (B) which follows. Page references are 
usually not to the entire discussion named in the title, but only to the 
portion dealing with the rock. Whenever representations of the 
appearance of the inscription accompany a discussion, the fact is 
noted by insertion of the abbreviation "Illus.," followed by a number 
which is that of some drawing or photograph so numbered in the list 
of reproductions given on pages 374-397 of this volume. A brief 
comment is attached to each item, which rarely attempts to indicate 
the value or the entire contents of the source, but confines itself 
usually to stating the opinion expressed as to the origin of the in- 
scription. Titles are given with brevity, and as a rule the date of 
first publication only is given. 

Inclusion in the list is naturally no indication as to the value of 


a paper. A large proportion of the papers never possessed any 
merit as serious or reliable statements of fact or discussions of the 
problem, yet even these may have psychological or historical signifi- 
cance. Many trivial instances of casual mention of the rock are 
included, for they serve at least as indications of the degree of interest 
aroused by the inscription and of importance attached to it, and of 
the continuity of this interest through a long period of years. It 
is inevitable that many references to the rock must have been over- 
looked, and the compiler of the bibliography earnestly hopes that 
readers knowing of possible additions to it will kindly call them to 
his attention. 


1 AALL, J. Snorre Sturlesons Norske Kongers Sagaer, 1839, ii. 216 f . Illus., 
14e, 17b, 18b. Norse; follows Rafn. 

2 ABBOTT, J. S. C. History of Maine, 1875, pp. 13-21. No direct mention 
of Rock; but Newport Tower is Norse, and Rafn's authority unquestionable. 

3 ABBOTT, K. M. Old Paths and Legends of N. Eng., 1904, p. 388. Illus., 
29c, p. 349. Mention. 

4 ADAMS, GEO., publisher. Bristol County Almanac for 1852, pp. 31 f. 

5 ADET, P. A. Probable visit to Rock, 1796. See no. 462. 

6 AMER. ARCHITECT AND BUILDING NEWS, Feb. 8, 1890, xxvii. 93. (Reprint 
from New York Times.) May be Norse. Ownership and some theories; 
many misstatements. 

7 AMER. MONTHLY MAG. AND CRITICAL REV., 1817, i. 257. Review of 
Mathieu's Le Printemps, probably by S. L. Mitchill. 

8 AMER. MONTHLY MAG., 1836, N. S., i. 315 n. Another stone, work of 
insane man, resembling Rock. 

9 AMERICANA, The, [1912], vii. article Dighton Rock. Indian. 

10 ANDERSON, R. B. America not discovered by Columbus, 1874. 4th ed., 
1891; editions in Danish and German. 2nd ed., 1877, pp. 21 ff, 29 ff, 82 ff. 
Norse. Accepts Rafn's conclusions. Not a reliable source concerning the 
Rock: "too credulous" (Slafter, 1877); "shows tendency of his race to a facility 
rather than felicity in accepting evidence" (Winsor); "such a mass of unbe- 
lievable assumptions and of unsupported conclusions are rarely found together 
in so few pages" (Ruge). 

11 ANDERSON, R. B., editor. Norse Discovery of America. Translations 
and deductions by A. M. Reeves, N. L. Beamish, R. B. Anderson. Published by 
the Norraena Society, 1907. Anderson's contribution to this volume does not 
mention the Rock; but he is "hospitably disposed to the basin of Charles River 
as the site of Vinland" (p. 312). See Beamish. 

12 ANDREE, R. Ethnographische Parallelen und Vergleiche, 1878, i. 294-297. 
Illus., Tafel V, Fig. 50, after Schoolcraft's 14e + 18b. "A very ordinary Indian 


13 ANDREWS, C. M., and DAVENPORT, F. G. Guide to the Manuscript 
Material for the History of the U. S. to 1783 in the British Museum, 1908, 
p. 73. Reference to Greenwood letter. 

14 ANDREWS, E. B. History of .the U. S., 1894, i. 2. Illus., p. 39, after no. 
24. Not Norse. 

15 ANTIQUARIAN. Letters of March 27, May 16, June 21, 1847. First ap- 
peared in newspapers of Providence and Newport; republished in Brooks's Con- 
troversy touching the Old Stone Mill, 1851, pp. 11-22, 38-44. A hoax, claim- 
ing that the Rock was inscribed by ^Egypto-Drosticks. 

16 ANTIQUITATES AMERICANS, 1837. See no, 364. 

17-20 ARNZEN, N. Letters and announcement regarding his gift of Rock to 
the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries of Copenhagen. Meetings of [17] 
Aug., 1861, [18] Sept., 1862. In Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc., 1862, v. 226 f ; 1863, 
vi. 252 f . [19] Ms. letter to J. W. D. Hall, Aug. 17, 1888, on transfer of Rock to 
the Scandinavian Memorial Club. Owned by Old Colony Hist. Soc. [20] Rep. 
of Committee on Dighton Rock, Oct. 15, 1889. In Colls. Old Colony Hist. Soc., 
1895, no. 5, pp. 94-97. Concerning ownership. 

21 ASSALL, F. W. Nachrichten iiber die friiheren Einwohner von Nord- 
amerika und ihre Denkmaler, 1827, p. 71. Indians and white men. 

22 ATHENAEUM, The, 1903, pt. i., 561. Indian. 

23 AUTOMOBILE BLUE BOOK, 1917, ii. 318. Indian hieroglyphics. 

24 AVERT, E. McK. History of the U. S. and its People, 1904, i. 93-96. 
Illus., p. 93, after no. 29c. Not Norse; Indian. 

25 AYSCOUGH, S. Catalogue of the MSS preserved in the British Museum 
hitherto undescribed, 1782, i. 355, 450. Reference to Greenwood letter. 

26-27 B., L., Jr. [Bliss, Leonard, Jr.] Review of Antiquitates Americanse. 
In Western Messenger, 1838, v. 230. Norse; follows Rafn. [27] Inscription 
Rocks, found in Mass, and R. I. In Western Messenger, 1838, vi. 81-94. Norse; 
follows Rafn. 

28 BABCOCK, W. H. Early Norse Visits to North America. Smithsonian 
Miscel. Colls., 1913, pp. 44-54, 139, 169 f. Indian; "almost certainly Wampa- 
noag work." Norse probably visited Mount Hope Bay, but no material remains 
of their visit. 

29 BACON, E. M. Narragansett Bay, 1904, p. 3. Mention. 

30 BALDWIN, J. D. Ancient America, 1872, pp. 279-285. No direct men- 
tion of Rock; but quotes a legend from Danforth, and believes Norse reached 
Mount Hope Bay. 

31-32 BANCROFT, G. History of the U. S., 1840, iii. 313. Indian; believes 
in probability that Norse knew Labrador, but argues that there is no proof. 
[32] Letter to M. Van Buren, June 17, 1841. In Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc., 1909, 
xlii. 390. Norse theory a humbug. 

33 BANCROFT, H. H. Native ^Races of the Pacific States of N. A., 1876, 
v. 74. Mention. 

34 BANGOR DAILY COMMERCIAL, May 21, 1897. Illus., after^ no. 17b. 

35-36 BARBER, J. W. Historical Colls, of Mass., 1839 and later editions, pp. 
117-119. Illus., original drawing no. 20. Description, mostly after Kendall. 
[36] History and Antiquities of N. England, N. York and N. Jersey, 1840, p. 11. 
Illus., no. 18b, p. 12. Mention. 


37 BARNUM, L. H. [Discovery of America by the Northmen.] In Cornell 
Rev., 1874, i. 347, 349. Value of Rock to Norse theory is problematic. 

38-41 BARTLETT, J. R. Member of Committee of R. I. Hist. Soc., 1834; 
artist of the Sketch, no. 17a, and of the Drawing, no. 18a. [39] Observations on 
the Progress of Geography and Ethnology. In Proc. N. Y. Hist. Soc. for 1846 
(1847), iv. 160. Separately printed, 1847. No alphabetic characters on Rock. 
[40] Bibliography of R. I., 1864, p.. 19. Mention. [41] Letter describing 
making of the R. I. Hist. Soc. Drawings. In Proc. R. I. Hist. Soc., 1872-73, 
p. 73. Indian; not a record of any kind; never believed Jt to be Norse. 

42-44 BAXTER, J. P. Reference to Rock. In N. Eng. Hist. Gen. Register, 
1887, xli. 414. Mention of unpublished Greenwood letter in British Museum. 
[43] Early Voyages to America. In Colls. Old Colony Hist. Soc., 1889, no. 4, 
pp. 4-49. Illus., after no. 29c, p. 15. Norse. [44] Present status of pre- 
Columbian discovery of America by the Northmen. In Ann. Rep. Amer. Hist. 
Association for 1893, pp. 101-110. Indian; not Norse. 

45 BAYLIES, FRANCIS. Hist. Memoir of the Colony of New Plymouth, 1830, 
i. 31-33. For later ed., see S. G. Drake. A monument of a people previous to 
the Indians; perhaps Phoenician. 

46-47 BAYLIES, W. Collaborator with Smith, West, Gooding, in production 
of drawing of 1789. [47] Ms. letter dated Dighton 27 July, 1789, to James Win- 
throp, with a copy of the Dighton inscription. In ms. Papers, vol. i. 1780-90, 
of Amer. Acad. of Arts and Sciences. 

48 BAYLIES, SMITH, WEST, GOODING, BAYLIES. Drawing, made about July 
15, 1789. 

49 BEAMISH, N. L. Discovery of America by the Northmen, 1841. Repub- 
lished in Prince Society's Voyages of the Northmen to America, 1877; and in the 
Norraena Society's Norse Discovery of America, 1907. Ed. 1841, p. 117. Illus., 
Plate III, after no. 18b. Ed. 1907, pp. 239 f, 242. Norse; "no reasonable 
doubt" of it; Rafn proves it "by unanswerable arguments." A careless, in- 
accurate account of the Rafn version. 

50 BEAZLEY, C. R. Dawn of Modern Geography, 1901, pt. ii. pp. 75 f. 
Not Norse; generally supposed to be Indian. 

51-54 BELKNAP, J. Corr. with E. Hazard. In Belknap Papers, 1877, 
[51] i. 353, June 6, 1784; [52] ii. 76, Nov. 16, 1788; [53] ii. 81, Dec. 13, 1788; 
[54] ii. 160, Aug. 20, 1789. Doubtful. 

55 BENTLEY, W. Diary, 1911, iii. 322 (Oct. 13, 1807). Mention; refer- 
ences to Kendall, S. Harris, the two Baylies. 

56 BERKELEY, GEO. Visited Rock about 1730; made an uncompleted and 
unpreserved drawing. 

57 BICKNELL, T. W. History of Barrington, 1898, p. 22. Strong circum- 
stantial evidence for the Norse theory. 

58 BIGELOW, JACOB. Reference to Rock, Oct. 27, 1852. In Proc. Ma^s. 
Hist. Soc. xvii. 458. 

59 BLACKWELL, I. A. Colonization of Greenland, and discovery of the 
American Continent by the Scandinavians. Translated from the French of M. 
Mallet [1755], by Bishop Percy [1770]. New ed. by I. A. Blackwell, 1847, 
pp. 261 f. Norse theory doubtful, to say the least; may probably be Indian. 

60 BLAKE, G. S. Ms. letter of March 25, 1865, to Amer. Antiq. Soc., trans- 
mitting essay on Rock by C. R. Hale. No opinion expressed. 


61-62 BLAKE, L.'l. Maker of plaster cast of the Rock, 1876. [62] De- 
scription of the circumstances in letter to E. B. Delabarre, Jan. 13, 1916. 

BLISS, LEONARD, JR. See nos. 26-27. 

63-64 BODFISH, J. P. Discovery of America by the Northmen in the Tenth 
Century- In Proc. Second Public Meeting held by U. S. Catholic Hist. Soc., 
Oct. 29, 1885 (1886), pp. 38-40. Norse; uncritical acceptance of Rafn's views. 
Several errors of statement. [64] Discovery of New England by the North- 
men in the Tenth Century. Paper read before the Bostonian Soc., Feb. 8, 
1887; reported in Boston papers of the following day. Probably identical with 

65 BOGGILD, F. Ante-Columbian discovery of the American Continent by 
the Northmen. In Hist. Mag., 1869, N. S., v. 170-179. A reprint from the New 
Orleans Sunday Times. Uncertain as to Rock; accepts Tower and Skeleton 
as Norse. 

66 BORDER CITY HERALD, June 19, 1876. Mention. 

67 BORRING, L. E. Notices on the Life and Writings of C. C. Rafn, 1864, 
p. 10. Mention. 

68 BOSTON TRANSCRIPT, Sept. 25, 1848, p. 2/2. Account of Elton's paper. 

69 BOURINOT, Sir J. G. Voyages of the Northmen. In Proc. and Trans. 
Royal Soc. of Canada for 1891 (1892), vol. ix. sect. ii. pp. 291-295. Rafn's 
theory of Rock, but not of Norse voyages, now discredited. 

70 BOWEN, F. Schoolcraft on the Indian Tribes. In North Amer. Rev., 1853, 
Ixxvii. 252-256. Not Norse; a meaningless scrawl, probably Indian. 

BOWER, S. J. See no. 156. 

71 BRADFORD, A. W. American Antiquities, and Researches into the Origin 
and History of the Red Race, N. Y., 1841, pp. 184, 186. No mention of Rock; 
but contributes to knowledge of Indian pictographs. 

72-73 BRINE, L. Travels amongst American Indians, 1894, p. 33 n. In- 
dian; visited it in 1870. 

74 BRINLEY, G. Cat. of the Amer. Library of, 1881, pt/iii. nos. 5378, 5405. 

75-76 BRINTON, D. G. Myths of the New World, 1868, p. 10. Indian; rude 
and meaningless. [76] Prehistoric Archaeology. In Iconographic Encyclopaedia, 
1886, ii. pp. 75 f. Indian. 

77-80 [BRISTOL COUNTY, Mass., Northern District, Land Records. [77] Book 
253, p. 92, July 25, 1857. Deed of the Rock from Thomas F. Dean to Nils Arnzen. 
[78] Book 253, p. 93. Jan. 23, 1860. Deed of the Rock from Nils Arnzen to 
Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries. [79] Book 259, p. 49. May 27, 1861. 
Acknowledgment of donation of Rock to Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, 
by King Frederick VII of^Denmark, President of the Society. [80] Book 470, 
p. 211. Jan. 30, 1889. Deed of the Rock from Royal Society of Northern Anti- 
quaries to Old Colony Historical Society. 

81 BRITTAIN, A. History of North America. (Ed. by G. C. Lee), 1903, i. 
16, 37. Illus., after no. 18b, p. 37. Not Norse; Indian theory' generally ac- 
cepted; Vinland was New England. 

82 BROCKHATTS' KONVERSATIONS-LEXIKON, 14th ed., 1898, v. 304. Inde- 
cipherable runes. 

83 BROOKS, C. T., editor. Controversy touching the Old Stone Mill in New- 
port, R. L, 1851. See Antiquarian; Melville. 


84 BROOKS, R. General Gazetteer, 1876, p. 294. Never satisfactorily 

85-86 BROWN, C. W. Photograph of Dighton Rock and vicinity as seen 
from the shore, May 15, 1915. [86] Description of composition of Rock and its 
manner of weathering, 1916. Cited in this paper. 

87 BROWN, SOPHIA F. Ms. letter of Oct. 19, 1864, to E. E. Hale concerning 
the "Gooding drawing" of "1790." Owned by Amer. Antiq. Soc. 

88 BRYANT, W. C., and GAY, S. H. Popular History of the U. S., 1876, i. 
60 f. Illus., after no. 24, p. 61. Norse view questionable; Indian theory 

89 BURGESS, G. C. With Augustine H. Folsom as photographer, produced the 
first photograph with Rock left unchalked, in July, 1868. 

90-91 BUSHNELL, D. I. An Early Account of Dighton Rock. In Amer. 
Anthropologist, 1908, x. 251-254. Transcript of letters by Greenwood in 
British Museum. Accompanied by first photographic reproduction of drawings 
no. Ic and 5b. [91] Letter of Oct. 21, 1915, to E. B. Delabarre. Indian. 

92 CABOT, J. E. Discovery of America by the Norsemen. In Mass. Quart. 
'., 1849, ii. 209. No sufficient evidence for Norse theory; probably Indian. 

93 CATLIN, G. Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condi- 
tion of the North American Indians, 1841, ii. 246. Indian; their picture-writings 
are "generally totems of Indians who have visited those places." 

94-95 CHACE, C. W. Issued a post-card, by an unknown photographer, 
about 1900. [95] Historic Rocks. In Taunton Gazette, May 3, 1905, p. 9/1-7. 

96 CHAMBERS, W., and R. Chambers' Papers for the People, 1850, no. 42, 
vi. 28. Indian view more reasonable. 

97 CHANNING, E., and HART, A. B. Guide to the Study of American His- 
tory, 1897, pp. 231-234. Related bibliographical material. 

98 CHAPIN, A. B. Ante-Columbian History of America. In Amer. Biblical 
itory, 2nd Series, 1839, ii. 191-197. Not unlikely that the Norse en- 
graved the letters and numerals, and the Indians the rest. 

99 CHECKLEY, WM. First aroused Dr. Stiles's interest in Dighton Rock, 
1766. Remark by Stiles on copy of Mather Broadside, Yale University Library. 

100 CHINGWAUK. Indian interpreter of inscription, 1839. See no. 401. 
101-102 CLARKE, R. H. America discovered and Christianized in the tenth 

and eleventh centuries. In Amer. Catholic Quart. Rev., 1888, xiii. 228 f . 
Norse theory plausible. [102] First Christian Northmen in America. In Amer. 
Catholic Quart. Rev., 1889, xiv. 608. Believed to be Norse. 

103 COLANGE, L. DE. National Gazetteer, 1884, p. 119. Mention. 

104 COLBURN'S NEW MONTHLY MAG. AND HUMORIST, 1850, xc. 128-132.. 
American Antiquities. No mention of Rock; but inscribed rocks are Indian. 

105 COOK, J. America, Picturesque and Descriptive, 1900, iii. 121-123. 
Probably Indian. 

106 CORNHILL MAG., 1872, xxvi. 457. Legends of Old America. Mention. 

107 COURT DE GEBELIN. Monde Primitif, 1781, viii. 58 f, 561-568. Illus., 
no. lie, Planche I. Phoenician; a complete translation given. 

108 CRONAU, R. Amerika, 1892, i. 137. Unquestionably Indian. 

109 DALL, W. H. Pre-Historic America. By the Marquis de Nadaillac. 
Translated by N. D'Anvers. Ed. by W. H. Dall. 1884. Chap. x. Origin of 


Man in America. (For this chapter the American editor is chiefly responsible.) 
Omits a discussion of Rock, favorable to the Norse view, that appeared in the 
original; and says: "Theories ascribing the origin of the Americans to full-fledged 
races from elsewhere are enthusiastic rubbish" (p. 530). 
DAMMARTIN, MOREAU DE. See Moreau de Dammartin. 

110 DANFORTH, JOHN. Author of first known drawing of Rock, October, 
1680; and probable author of the "Danforth slip" in Greenwood letter B. 

111 DANSK KUNSTBLAD, March 17, 1837. Illus., after 15c. Characters 
have runic appearance, and are evidence of connection of America with the old 

112 DAVIS, A. Lecture on the Antiquities of Central- America, and on the dis- 
covery of New England by the Northmen, five hundred years before^Columbus, 
1838. At least thirty editions, with slightly varying titles, up to 1854. Norse. 
An illiterate, ill-balanced, uncritical compilation. 

113-115 DAVIS, F. S. Author of three photographs: [113] Sept. 11, 1893; 
[114] Jan. 27, 1894; and [115] one undated, early in 1894. 

116 DAVIS, JOHN. Attempt to Explain the Inscription on the Dighton Rock. 
In Memoirs Amer. Acad. of Arts and Sciences, 1809, iii. 197-205. Indian 
representation of deer-traps and hunting scenes. 

117 DAVIS, N. S. Collaborator in production of photograph, no. 28, 1873. 

118 DAWSON, S. E. North America, 1897, i. 108 f. Mention. 

119 DEANE, C. Remarks on Rock. In Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., Oct. 21, 
1867, p. 7. Mention. 

DEANE, W. E. C. See pp. 388, 390, above. 

120-123 DE COSTA, B. F. Pre-Columbian Discovery of America by the 
Northmen, 1868. Later editions, 1890, 1901. 2nd ed., p. 65. Central portion 
may be Norse; the rest may be Indian. [121] Northmen in America. Paper 
read Dec. 17, 1868. In Journal of the Amer. Geogr. and Statistical Soc., 1860- 
1870, ii. 51. Hardly considered as a relic of the Northmen. [122] Note to 
no. 65, Hist. Mag., 1869, v. 178. Cannot be relied on to prove anything. 
[123] Columbus and the Geographers of the North, 1872, pp. 14 f . Not Norse. 

124-127 DELABARRE, E. B. Some new facts concerning Early Descriptions, 
Reproductions and Interpretations of Dighton Rock. Paper read before Old 
Colony Hist. Soc., Oct. 9, 1915. Abstract thereof in Taunton Herald News and 
in Taunton Gazette of same date. [125] Early Interest in Dighton Rock. In 
Publications Col. Soc. Mass., 1917, xviii. 235-299, 417. [126] Middle Period of 
Dighton Rock History, id. 1918, xix. 46-149. [127] Recent History of Dighton 
Rock, id. 1919, xx. 286-462. 

128 DE Roo, P. Hist, of America before Columbus according to documents 
and approved authors, 1900, i. 195, ii. 307-314. Has served a dozen theories; 
may never prove any; "is and will remain forever a perplexing enigma." 

129-130 DEXTER, G. Remarks on the Norse discovery of America, April, 
1880. In Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc., 1881, xviii. 18 f. Not Norse. [130] In 
Memorial Hist, of Boston, 1880, i. 26. Not Norse. 

131 DIGHTON BI-CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, July 17, 1912, p. 85. Illus- 
trations: Seal of Dighton, with cut of Rock after no. 40, on cover and title-page; 
no. 35, on p. 86. Origin unsettled; possibly Norse. 

132-134 DIMAN, J. L. Critical Notice of De Costa's Pre-Columbian Dis- 
covery. In North Amer. Rev., 1869, cix. 266 f . Mention. [133] Settlement 


of Mount Hope. Address . . . delivered Sept. 24, 1880. In Orations and 
Essays, 1882, pp. 145 f . Northmen left no trace behind them. [134] Editorial 
notice of W. J. Miller's Notes concerning the Wampanoag Tribe of Indians. In 
Providence Daily Journal, Nov. 19, 1880, p. 2/3. Mount Hope inscription 
more like Norse writing than that of Dighton Rock. Latter considered by the 
most competent judges to be Indian. 

135 DOMENECH, E. Seven Years Residence hi the great Deserts of North- 
America, 1860, i. 52, 61. Norse; confirms Danish archaeologists. At first 
confounded with Indian pictographs, "but on more serious examination the 
difference was perceived, and the archaeologists acknowledged their mistake." 

136 DOUGLASS, W. Summary. Volume i first issued hi numbers, beginning 
in 1747; as a complete volume, 1749. Later editions, 1755, 1760. Ed. of 1760, 
i. 170. Natural honeycombing of the rock, not artificial characters. 

137-138 DRAKE, F. S. Indian Tribes of the United States, 1884, i. 88 f. 
Illus., no. 24, opp. p. 88. Condensed from Schoolcraft. [138] Indian History 
for Young Folks, 1885, pp. 27 f. Illus., after no. 29c, p. 28. - Indian. 

139-140 DRAKE, S. A. Nooks and Corners of the N. Eng. Coast, 1875, pp. 
416 f. Illus., after no. 16c, p. 416. Generally admitted to be of Indian origin; 
but may be the work of white men, possibly of Verrazano's expedition. [140] Book 
of N. Eng. Legends and Folk Lore, 1884, pp. 395, 398. Not Norse nor an in- 
telligible record of any kind. 

141 DRAKE, S. G., editor. Historical Memoir of the Colony of New Plymouth 
by F. Baylies. With some corrections, additions, and a copious index, by S. G. 
Drake. 1866, pt. v. p. 22 (by Drake). Baylies' estimate of its character and 
antiquity is believed to be correct; previous to Indians, perhaps Phoenician. 

142 DUANE, Col. [WM.?]. His "speculations on this subject," previous to 
1824, referred to by Yates and Moulton, i. 82, have not been located. 

143 DUBLIN REVIEW, 1841, xi. 286. Successive Discoveries of America. 
Reprinted in Amer. Eclectic, 1842, iii. 242 ff . Apparently Phoenician. 

144 Du Bois, B. H. Did the Norse discover America? In Mag. of Amer. 
History, 1892, xxvii. 374. Not Norse; archaeologists now agree as to its Indian 

145 DUNKIN, CHRISTOPHER. Ms. letters to T. H. Webb, concerning copy of 
Sewall drawing, Sept. 24, Nov. 17, 1834. In ms. Corr. and Reports, R. I. Hist. 
Soc., ii. 27, 32; the copied drawing on p. 23. 

146 Du SIMITIERE, P. E. Inscription in Massachusetts. In ms. volume 
no. 1412 Quarto of Library Company of Phila. Written probably in 1781. 
Mention of Berkeley's visit to Rock, Smibert's drawing, visit to Stiles. 

147 DWIGHT, W. R. Paper read before Ethnographical Soc. of N. York. In 
Hist. Mag., 1859, iii. 362. No opinion expressed; describes visit to Rock. 

148 EASTMAN, S. Together with a "professed daguerreotypist of Taunton," 
made the first published photographic representation of the inscription, the 
daguerreotype of 1853. In Schoolcraft's Indian Tribes, 1854, iv. 120, Plate 14. 

149 EDDY, W. P. With F. N. Ganong as photographer, produced a photo- 
graph in August, 1908. Published in his Prospectus of the Eddy House, Dighton. 

150 ELLESMERE, FRANCIS EGERTON, Earl of, editor. Guide to Northern 
Archaeology, 1848, pp. 114-119. No direct mention of the Rock; but expounds 
favorably Rafn's views of the visits of the Northmen. 

151 ELLIOTT, C. W. New England History, 1857, i. 34 f. "The rocks may 


go for what they are worth. The strongest proof is in the Sagas," of the Norse 
visits to New England. 

152 ELLIS, G. E. Remarks on Rock. In Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., Oct. 21, 
1867, p. 7 f . Indian. 

153 ELTON, ROMEO. On the Ante-Columbian Discovery of America. In 
Brit. Assn. Adv. of Science, Rep. of 18th Meeting, August, 1848, pt. ii. p. 94. 
"The Norse discovery of America ... is confirmed by the Dighton Rock, 
found there on the arrival of the first New England colonists." See also no. 68. 

154 ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, llth Edition, 1911, xxvi. 454. Not 
Norse; "now known to be the work of Indians." 

155 ENGLISH REVIEW, 1790, xv. 180-182. Review of papers by Lort and 
Vallancey. Agrees with the view which it attributes to Berkeley, that the lines 
axe not artificial, but the casual corrosion of the rock by the waves of the sea. 

156 EVERETT, A. H. Discovery of America by the Northmen. In U. S. 
Mag. and Democratic Rev., 1838, ii. 156. A drawing and a painting made by 
S. J. Bower to illustrate this lecture, after nos. 17b and 18b, are owned by Amer. 
Antiq. Soc. Norse origin of Rock is doubtful; but Norse settlement on Mount 
Hope Bay is "beyond controversy." 

157-158 EVERETT, ED. Review of Gesenius' Versuch iiber die maltesische 
Sprache. In North Amer. Rev., 1820, x. 226 f . Mention. [158] Discovery of 
America by the Northmen. In North Amer. Rev., 1838, xlvi. 188 f, 197. 
"Wholly unconvinced" of Norse theory; may be due to Indians, even later than 
1620, or to white men; cannot decide positively. 

159 EVERETT, WM. Remarks on a proposed statue to Leif the Northman, 
May, 1880. In Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc., 1881, xviii. 79 f . Mention. 

160 EWBANK, T. North American Rock-Writing. In Hist. Mag., 1866, x. 
257, 272, 306; reprint, 1866. No mention of Rock; implies that it is Indian. 

161 FALL RIVER NEWS AND TAUNTON GAZETTE, with assistance of Alanson 
Borden. Our County and Its People: A Descriptive and Biographical Record 
of Bristol County, Mass., 1899, p. 197. Mention of Dighton Rock newspaper. 

162 FARNUM, A. Visits of the Northmen to Rhode Island. R. I. Hist. Soc. 
Tracts, no. 2, 1877, pp. 5, 39. Not Norse. 

163 FARQUHARSON, R. J. On the Inscribed Tablets, found ... in a mound 
near Davenport, Iowa. In Proc. Davenport Acad. of Nat. Sciences, 1876-1878, 
ii. 105. Paper read March 9, 1877. Norse; accepts Rafn's views. 

164 FAY, J. S. Track of the Norsemen. In Mag. of Amer. Hist., 1882, viii. 
431-434. Also issued as a monograph of 7 pages, Boston, 1873 and 1876. 
Mention. It is believed that the Norsemen settled in Narragansett Bay. 

165 FERNALD, C. A. Universal International Genealogy and of the Ancient 
Fernald Families, 1910. Illus., nos. 16c, and 36. Numerous references to the 
Rock, and translations of it. Rock contains inscriptions by Mareus Agrippa 
(29 B.C.), by his son Graecianus, by Christ (15 A.D.), and by Fnr Chia and 
Fna Bahman (222 A.D.). A masterpiece of seriously intended absurdities. 

166-167 FISCHER, J. Die Entdeckungen der Normannen in Amerika, 1902. 
Also translation by B. H. Soulsby, 1903, pp. v, vi, 42 f. Not Norse; without 
doubt of Indian origin. [167] Pre-Columbian Discovery of America. In Catholic 
Encyclopedia, 1907, i. 418 f. Not Norse; merely Indian picture-writing. 

168 FISHER, R. S. New and Complete Statistical Gazetteer of the U. S., 
1853, p. 181. Mention. 


169 FISKE, J. Discovery of America, 1892, i. 213-215. Not Norse; refers 
to "Rafn's ridiculous interpretation of this Algonquin pictograph." 

FOLSOM, A. H. See no. 89. 

170 FOLSOM, C. Remarks on Rock. In Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., Oct. 21, 
1867, p. 7 f . Indian. 

171 FOLSOM, G. Discovery of America by the Northmen. In N. York Rev., 
1838, pp. 361-363. Norse, probably; "we shall not pretend to decide;" but 
"no reasonable doubt" of Rafn's location of Vinland. 

172 FOREIGN QUARTERLY REVIEW, 1838, xxi. 89 ff . Review of Antiquitatea 
Americanse. Not Norse; "enough of these antiquarian absurdities." 

173 FOSSUM, A. Norse Discovery of America, 1918, pp. 17 f . Not Norse; 

174-175 FOSTER, JOHN WELLS. On the Discovery of America. In Hes- 
perian, 1838, i. 27. Not Norse; "I know not why they may not have been 
made by the Indians." [175] Prehistoric Races of the United States, 1873, p. 
400. A 6th ed., 1887. Not Norse; "crude picture-writing of the savage." 

176 FOWLE, W. B., and Fm, A. Elementary Geography for Massachu- 
setts Children, 1845, p. 155. Supposed to be earlier than Indians of colonial 

177 FREDERICK VII, King of Denmark. Letter to N. Arnzen, May 7, 
1861. Acknowledgment of donation of Rock to Roy. Soc. of Northern Anti- 
quaries, May 27, 1861. See nos. 17, 18, 79. 

178 FRIEDRICHSTHAL, The Chevalier. Ms. letter to T. L. Winthrop, July 16, 
1840; accompanied by drawing of Rock. Owned by Mass. Hist. Soc. Not 

179 FROTHINGHAM, N. L. Value of James Winthrop's reproduction of the 
inscription. In 4 Mass. Hist. Colls., 1854, ii. 142. 

180 FUGL, N. Letter to Rafn, Jan. 20, 1840, on a'comparison of the Sewall 
drawing with that of the R. I. Hist. Soc. In Memoires de la Socie'te* Royale des 
Antiquaires du Nord, 1840-44, p. 8. 

182-183 GAFFAREL, P. Etude sur les rapports de l'Ame"rique et de 1'ancien 

continent avant Christophe Colomb, 1869, p. 130. An indecipherable enigma. 
[183] Histoire de la d^couverte de I'Ame'rique depuis les origines jusqu'a la mort 
de Christophe Colomb, 1892, i. 80, 84 f, 88. Illus., after 18b, opp. p. 80. 
An indecipherable enigma. 

184 GAGNON, A. Les Scandinaves en AmSrique. In Proc. and Trans. 
Royal Soc. of Canada for 1890, vol. viii. sect. i. pp. 43-50. Norse, accepts 
Rafn's views. 

GANONG, F. N. See no. 149. 

185 GARDNER, J. Author of lithograph of 1812. 

186-187 GARDNER, W. B. Photographer hi the production of the Davis- 
Gardner version, 1873, and of the Harrison-Gardner version, 1875. Author of a 
descriptive paragraph printed on the mounts of these photographs, endorsing 
the theory and translation of Rafn. 

188 GAZETTEER OF THE WORLD, London, 1886, i. 216, 630. Mention; 
"supposed to be Norse." 

GEBELIN, Court de. See Court de Gebelin. 

189 GEHLEN, A. Latest Researches on the Discovery of America by the 


Northmen. In Scientific American Supplement, 1903, Iv. 22874 f. Indian; 
not Runic, but Algonquin characters. 

190 GELCICH, E. Zur Geschichte der Entdeckung Amerikas durch die 
Skandinavier. In Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft fur Erdkunde zu Berlin, 1892, 
xxvii. 156. Not Norse. 

191 GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, 1787, Ivii. 699. Review of papers by Lort 
and Vallancey. Natural corrosions; not Phoenician. 

192 GJERSET, K. History of the Norwegian People, 1915, i. 214. Indian. 

193 GOODING, J. Collaborator, drawing of 1789. See W. Baylies. 

1 194 GOODRICH, A. History of the character and achievements of the so- 
called Christopher Columbus, 1874, pp. 69-87. No direct mention of Rock; 
but accepts conclusions of Rafn. 

195 GOODWIN, J. A. Pilgrim Republic, 1888, pp. 129, 140. Not Norse; 
may be by some prehistoric tribe. 

196 GOSLING, W. G. Labrador, [1916], p. 1. An Indian picture-writing. 
197-198 GRAVIER, G. De"couverte de 1'Am^rique par les Nonnands au X e 

Siecle, 1874, pp. 91-97. Illus. [198] Notice sur le roc de Dighton ... In 
Congres international des Ame"ricanistes. Compte-rendu de la l e session, Nancy, 
1875, pp. 166-192. Also separate reprint, Nancy, 1875. Illus., no. 18b. 
Norse. Gives a translation slightly different from that of Rafn. 

199-200 GREEN, S. A. Remarks concerning a recent visit to Rock. In 
Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., Oct. 21, 1867, p. 7. [200] Remarks on sculptured 
rocks in Rhode Island lately visited. In ibid., Oct. 21, 1868. Indian. 

201-203 GREENWOOD, ISAAC. Letter to J. Eames, Dec. 8, 1730. Letter A, 
actually sent on that date. Contains copied drawings of Danforth and Green- 
wood. In British Museum, Add. MSS. 6402.47, 106, 107. [202] Letter to J. 
Eames, Dec. 8, 1730. Letter B, the original rough draught, not sent until April, 
1732. Contains the probable originals of the Danforth and Greenwood draw- 
ings, and the "Danforth slip." In British Museum, Add. MSS. 4432.185-189. 
[203] Letter to J. Eames, April 28, 1732. Letter G In British Museum, Add. 
MSS. 4432.190. 

204 GRINNELL, C. Photograph, about 1907. 

205 GUDMONDSSON, F. Opinion on Rock, cited by J. Fischer in Discoveries 
of the Northmen, 1903, p. 42. Rafn's theory quite untenable. 

206 GUILLOT, P. Histoire des peuples du Nord ou des Danois et des Nor- 
mands. (Translation of Henry Wheaton's History of the Northmen, 1831). . . . 
Edition revue et augmente*e par 1'auteur . . . traduit de P Anglais par Paul 
Guillot, 1844, pp. 43n, 491-499 (by translator). Illus., after no. 18b, opp. 
p. 491. Norse; accepts Rafn's views. 

207 H., H. W. (H. W. HATNES?) Review of De Roo's History of America 
before Columbus. In Amer. Hist. Rev., 1901, vi. 801. Mention. See also 
no. 232. 

208 H., W. D. Answer to a query. In Notes and Queries, 2nd series, 1858, 
v. 387. Not Norse; Indian. 

209 HALE, C. R. Essay on the Dighton Rock, 1865. An illustrated ms., 
104 pp., owned by Amer. Antiq. Soc. Not Norse; Indian. 

210-216 HALE, E. E. Ms. Diary, July 31, 1839. Description of a visit to 
Rock and of making a drawing. [211] Ms. letter to S. F. Haven, Oct. 18, 1864, 
accompanying a gift of the A. H. Everett drawings to Amer. Antiq. Soc. Owned 


by Society. See also Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., Oct. 21, 1864, p. 46n. [212] Re- 
port of Council. In Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., Oct. 21, 1871, p. 23. Mention. 
213] History of the U. S., 1887, p. 17. Cannot be used as evidence for the 
Norse theory. [214-215] A Harvard Undergraduate in the Thirties. In Harper's 
Mag., 1916, cxxxii. 696. Mention of Rock, under dates of Nov. 20, 24, 1837. 
[216] Life and Letters. Ed. by E. E. Hale, Jr., 1917, i. 32f 45, 59-63, 199, 360. 

217 HALE, HORATIO, or NATHAN. Copy of Sewall drawing, and transcript of 
writing on it, Nov. 17, 1834. In ms. Corr. and Reports, R. I. Hist. Soc., ii. 23. 

218 HALL, J. W. D. Dighton Writing Rock. In Colls. Old Colony Hist. 
Soc., 1889, No. 4, p. 97. History of ownership. 

219 HAMLIN, A. C. Cited by Lodge in 1874, as having unsuccessfully at- 
tempted a cast of Rock, and being of opinion that it is an ordinary Indian picto- 
graph with no runic characters on it. A resident of Dighton recalls an attempted 
cast, probably this one, made not later than 1870. 

Vineland. Illus., after no. 29c. Not Norse. 

221 HARRIS, S. Translation of Dighton Rock inscription, about 1807. Cited 
by Kendall [269], and E. Everett [158]. A Hebrew inscription in ancient 
Phoenician characters. 

222 HARRISON, A. M. Made a topographical survey of Taunton river in 
1875; embodied particulars concerning Rock in a separate paper filed in the 
office of the Survey; signed some copies of the Harrison-Gardner photograph as 
having been present when taken. See Report of the U. S. Coast Survey for the 
year ending June, 1876; U. S. Document, 1688; Executive Document no. 37, 
44th Congress, 2nd session, Senate, p. 18. 

223 HASKEL, D., and SMITH, J. C. Complete 'Descriptive and Statistical 
Gazetteer of the U. S., 1850, p. 177. Mention. 

224 HATHAWAY, C. A., Jr. Photograph, with Rock unchalked, taken in 1907. 

225-229 HAVEN, S. F. Archaeology of the U. S. In Smithsonian Contribu- 
tions to Knowledge, 1856, viii. 28-35, 106 f, 133. Indian. [226] Report of 
Librarian. In Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., April 29, 1863, p. 31. [227] Report of 
Librarian. In ibid., Oct. 21, 1864, p. 41. [228] Report of Librarian. In ibid., 
Oct. 21, 1867, p. 7. [229] Report of Council. In ibid., April 26, 1871, p. 21. 
Not Norse. 

230 HAWTHORNE, H. Old Seaport Towns of New England, 1916, pp. 250 f . 
Not Norse. 

231 HAY, JOHN. Erato: Class-day poem, June 10, 1858. 

232 HAYNES, H. W. Historical character of the Norse sagas. In 2 Proc. 
Mass. Hist. Soc., 1890, v. 334 f . Mention. See also no. 207. 

233-235 HAYWARD, J. Gazetteer of N. England, 1839. [234] Gazetteer of 
Mass., 1846, pp. 33, 137. [235] Gazetteer of the U S. 1853, p. 350. Mention. 

236-238 HAZARD, E. Corr. with J. Belknap. In Belknap Papers, 1877, 
[236] i. 343, May 17, 1784; [237] i. 361, June 21, 1784; [238] ii. 77, Nov. 22, 
1788. Undeciphered. 

239 HAZARD, T. R. Miscellaneous Essays and Letters, 1883, p. 329. Norse. 

240 HEADLEY, P. C. Island of Fire, 1875, p. 65. Mention. 

241 HENRICI, E. Amerikafahrer von Leif bis auf Columbus. In Beilage zur 
AUgemeine Zeitung, 1892, no. 87, April 12, pp. 1-5. Norse. "The Runic 
stone of Dighton causes the last doubt concerning the situation of Wemland to 


disappear. The voyages of the northmen extended surely to Florida and with 
the highest probability even to Brazil. Everywhere are found traces of the 
ancient colonies." 

242 HEKBERMANN, C. G. Northmen in America. In Hist. Records and 
Studies, published by U. S. Catholic Hist. Soc., 1903, vol. iii. pt. i. pp. 185-204. 

"Instead of being runic, turns out to be Indian picture-writing." 

243 HERMANNSSON, H. Northmen in America. In Islandica, 1909, ii. 
No vestiges left by the Northmen have been found (Introduction). Mention of 
Rock in the bibliography. 

244-245 HERMES, K. H. Entdeckung von Amerika durch die Islander im 
zehnten und elften Jahrhunderte, 1844, Pref. and p. 123. Illus., after no. 18b. 
Norse; a "most unambiguously testifying monument." [245] Discovery of 
America by the Icelanders. Translated by F. J. Grund. In Graham's Amer. 
Monthly Mag., 1853, xlii. 545-562. An abstract of the German work. 

246-247 HIGGINSON, T. W. Visit of the Vikings. In Harper's Mag., 1882, 
Ixv. 515-527. Illus., after no. 29c, p. 515. Not Norse; Indian. [247] History 
of the U. S., 1882, pp. 28-51. Illus., after no. 29c, p. 45. Reproduces no. 246. 

248 HIGGINSON, T. W., and MACDONALD, W. History of the U. S., 1905, 
pp. 40 ff . Essentially the preceding account, with a few alterations. 

249 HILL, I. Antiquities of America Explained, 1831, pp. 70-76. Illus., 
no. 16b. Inscription due to Jewish and Tyrian sailors, in second month of 
tenth year of the reign of Solomon (about 1000 B. C.); full translation. 

250 HITCHCOCK, E. Explanatory note in Catalog of New England Indian 
Relics in Gilbert Museum of Amherst College, 2nd ed., 1904. Illus., after no. 
29c, Plate VI. 

251 HOLLAND, W. J. Petroglyphs at Smith's Ferry, Pennsylvania. In In- 
ternational Congress of Americanists, 13th session held in New York in 1902, 
pp. 1-4. Similar to Dighton Rock; due to Indians. 

252 HOLMBERG, A. E. Skandinaviens Hallristningar, 1848, pp. 146-153. 
Illus., no. 18b, tab. 45, fig. 165. Norse; the Rafn version. 

253 HOLMES, A. Life of Ezra Stiles, 1798, p. 119. Non-committal. 

254 HOLMES, W, H. Dighton Rock. In Art and Archaeology, 1916, iii. 53-55. 
Illus., no. 33. No opinion expressed. Apparently a verbatim reprint from 
Thomas, with an addition concerning Lundy. 

255 HORSFORD, E. N. Discovery of America by Northmen. Address at the 
unveiling of the statue of Leif Eriksen, Oct. 29, 1887 (1888), pp. 23 f., 65. Illus., 
after 17b, p. 24. Not Norse; Indian. 

256 HOSMER, HEZEKIAH L. Origin of Our Antiquities. ' In Overland Monthly, 
1872, ix. 531 f. Norse; if Icelandic manuscripts are genuine, "there is abundant 
reason to believe that all the antiquities of North America owe to the Northmen 
their origin." 

257 HOVGAARD, W. Voyages of the Norsemen to America, 1914, pp. 115 ff. 

Not Norse; Indian. 

258 HOWARD, R. H., and CROCKER, H. E. Popular History of N. Eng., 
1881, i. 122. Mention. 

259 HUMBOLDT, F. H. A. VON. " Vues des Cordilleres et monuments des 
peuples indigenes de 1'Amerique, 1810, i. 180. Researches, concerning the In- 
stitutions and Monuments of the Ancient Inhabitants, of America, . . . Trans- 
lated into English by H. M. Williams, 1814, i. 149-155. Work of the natives. 


260 INDEPENDENT CHRONICLE, Boston, May 19, 1819, p. 1/5. American 
Antiquities. From Newburyport Herald of May 4. The "Writing Rock." 

261 INDEPENDENT DE FALL RIVER, L', 14 Juillet, 1915, pp. 17, 23. Lea 
Phe'niciens ont-ils connu 1'Ame'rique? L' inscription du Rocher de Dighton. 
Des Phe'niciens auraient visite" la Baie Mount Hope, dans 1'antiquite". Illus., 
no. lie, p. 17. A reprint from Gebelin; editorial comment non-committal. 

262 IRVING, W. Review of Bancroft's History of the U. S., 1841. In Bio- 
graphical and Critical Miscellanies, 1863, i. 330 f . Indian. 

263 JAMESON, J. F., and BUEL, J. W. Encyclopedic Dictionary of the United 
States, 1901, i. 219. Rafn's view "has now been generally abandoned, though 
the central portion may be Norse." 

264 JOMARD, E. F. Seconde note sur line pierre grave"e, trouvee dans un 
ancien tumulus am6ricain, et . . .BUT 1'idiome libyen, [1845]. Inscription is 
in Libyan characters. See no. 468. 

p. 65. Gebelin's Carthaginian interpretation. 

266 KAISER, W. Entdeckungen der Normannen im Gronland und hi Amerika, 
1882, p. 17. Norse; "for unbiassed observers no doubt can remain that it ia 
an inscription by Thorfinn." 

267-269 KENDALL, E. A. Painting hi oil, 1807. Now in Peabody Museum. 
[268] Account of the Writing-Rock in Taunton River. In Memoirs Amer. 
Acad. of Arts and Sciences, 1809, iii. 164-191. A letter to J. Davis, dated Oct. 
29, 1807. Illus., no. 15b. Origin undetermined. [269] Travels, 1809, ii. 
219-232; iii. 205-222. Unquestionably Indian; an unreadable record of some 
unknown transaction. 

270 KINNICUTT, L. N. Indian Names in Plymouth County, 1909, p. 42. 

271 KITTREDGE, F. E. Letter to Edwin M. Stone. In Proc. R. I. Hist. Soc., 
1872-73; Report by the Librarian, Jan. 21, 1873, p. 72. No opinion expressed. 

272 KITTREDGE, G. L. Cotton Mather's Scientific Communications to the 
Royal Society. In Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., April, 1916, xxvi. 18-67. 

273 KNEELAND, S. An American in Iceland, 1876, p. 224. Norse. 

274 KUNSTMANN, F. Entdeckung Amerikas, 1858, p. 29. Norse; accepts 
Rafn's views. 

275 LAGREZE, G. B. DE.Tes Normands dans les deux mondes, 1890, p. 352. 

"In several parts of America have been found stones with runic inscriptions." 

276 LAING, S. The Heimskringla, 1844, i. 174-183; 2nd ed., 1889, pp. 218 ff. 
Illus., after no. 17b, p. 175; nos. 14e and 18b, p. 176. Not Norse; might belong 
to any people or period one may please to fancy. 

277 LANIER, S. Psalm of the West. In Lippincott's Mag., June 1876; and 
in Poems, 1909, pp. 114-138. 

278 LATHROP, JOHN. Letter to J. Davis, Aug. 10, 1809, describing Wash- 
ington's visit to the Harvard Museum. In PrOc. Mass. Hist. Soc., 1869, x. 114. 

Washington believed it to be Indian. 

279 LELEWEL, J. Geographic du Moyen Age, 1852, iii-iv (in one volume), 
p. 82. Illus., after no. 17b, Plate I. Norse; accepts Rafn's views. 

duction, dated March 7, 1861, to Cat. of the Mathematical, Historical, Bibiio- 


graphical and Miscellaneous portion of the Celebrated Library of M. Guglielmo 
Libri, pt. i. p. vi. Inscriptions left by the Norsemen on rocks are the best proof 
of their visits to America. 

281 LIPPINCOTT'S GAZETTEER OF THE WORLD, 1906, p. 203. Mention. 

282 LODGE, H. C. Critical Notice of Gravier's De"couverte de TAm^rique par 
les Normands. In North Amer. Rev., 1874, cxix. 173-175. All the best 
American authorities agree that it is wholly of Indian workmanship. 

283 LOFFLER, E. Vineland Excursions of the ancient Scandinavians. In 
Congres international des Ame'ricanistes. Compte-rendu de la 5 e session, Copen- 
hague, 1883, pp. 64-73. Illus., after no. 29b, p. 70. Indian. 

284-285 LORT, M. Account of an antient Inscription in North America. 
Read Nov. 23, 1786. In Archaeologia, 1787, viii. 290-301. Illus., nos. Id, 2a, 
5c, lib, in Plates XVIII, XIX. First historical survey. At first thought the 
inscription was Indian; non-committal as to present opinion. [285] Letter to 
Bishop Percy, April 16, 1790. In J. B. Nichols's Illustrations of the Literary 
History of the Eighteenth Century, 1848, vii. 504-506. Much disposed now 
to believe it due to natural corrosion of the rock. 

286-287 LOSSING, B. J. Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution. First 
issued in numbers, 1850-52; frequently reprinted; i. 633-635. Illus., no. 16c. 
Record of a battle with Indians, made by Scandinavians acquainted with the 
Phoenician alphabet. [287] Centennial Edition History of the United States, 
1876, p. 35. Norsemen left no traces except the tower at Newport. 

288-289 LOWELL, J. R. Biglow Papers (1890). [288] 1st Series, 1848, no. vii, 
p. 115; [289] 2nd Series, 1862, no. iii, p. 278; iv, p. 297; v, pp. 311-318. A 
parody of the Norse theory. 

290 LUBBOCK, Sir J. Pre-historic Times, 1865. 3rd ed. 1872, p. 278. 

291 LUNDY, J. P. Communications on Mongolian symbolism and on Dighton 
Rock. In Proc. Numismatic and Antiq. Soc. of Philadelphia for 1883, pp. 7-8. 
Meetings of March 1, April 5. Chinese; full translation given. 

292 M'CuLLOCH, J. R. Gazetteer, 1843. Never satisfactorily explained. 
293-294 McLEAN, J. P. Study of American Archaeology. In Universalist 

Quart, and Gen. Rev., 1881, xxxviii. (N. S. xviii.) 285. Indian; contains 
numerous errors. [294] Critical examination of the evidences adduced to estab- 
lish the theory of the Norse discovery of America. In American Antiquarian, 
1892, xiv. 33-40, 87-94, 139-154, 189-196, 271-276. Separate reprint, Chicago, 
1892. Illus., after no. 24, opp. p. 192. Not Norse. 

295 MADDEN, SIR F. Index to the Additional Manuscripts preserved in the 
British Museum, 1849. Reference, under Greenwood. 

296 MAGNUSEN, F. Translation of the inscription as a Norse record. In 
Antiquitates Americanae, 1837, pp. 378-382. 

297-298 MALLERY, G. Pictographs of the North American Indians. In 
Fourth An. Rep. Bureau Amer. Ethnology for 1882-83 (1886 [1887]), pp. 20, 
250. An Indian pictograph. [298] Picture-writing of the American Indians. 
In Tenth An. Rep. Bureau of Amer. Ethnology for 1888-89 (1893 [1894]), pp. 
35, 86, 762. Illus., no. 24, p. 86, fig. 49; nos. Id, 2a, 5c, lib, 12b, 14e, 15c, 16c, 
18b, on Plate LIV, p. 762. An Indian pictograph. 

299 MARSH, G. P. Man and Nature, 1864, p. 60n. Not Norse; but accepts 
Rafn's localities. 


300-302. MASS. HIST. SOCIETY. Proceedings, ii. 309, March, 1845; viii. 96, 
Jan. 1865; x. 470, Feb. 1869. Other references to publications of the society 
under names of persons. Mention. 

303-308 MATHER, COTTON. Dedicatory Epistle to Sir H. Ashurst, in Won- 
derful Works of God Commemorated, 1690. Illus., no. Ib. First printed ac- 
count and illustration of the inscription. [304] 2nd ed., 1703. [305] Letter to 
R. Waller, Nov. 28, 1712. Ms. in Letter-Book of Royal Soc., M 2.21.32. [306] 
Extract of several Letters from C. Mather, to J. Woodward, and R. Waller. In 
Phil. Trans., no. 339, April-June, 1714, xxix. 70, 71. Illus., no. 2a, in Plate, 
Fig. 8. [307] Republication of letter on Rock. In Phil. Trans., abridged by 
H. Jones, 1721, vol. v. pt. ii. p. 165. Illus., no. 2a, Plate VIII, Fig. 72, p. 190. 
[308] Broadside, with description of Rock and drawing of the inscription. Date 
of issue unknown, probably about 1714. 

309 MATHIEU, C. L. Le Printemps, Nancy, [1816?]. Contains an account 
of Rock, reprinted in American Monthly Mag. and Critical Rev., 1817, i. 257- 
262. A record made by In, son of Indios, King of Atlantis, in Anno Mundi 

310 MELVILLE, D. Letter concerning Rock, the Stone Tower in Newport, 
and the Antiquarian hoax, March 23, 1848. In Brooks's Controversy touching 
the Old Stone Mill, 1851, pp. 51-54. Indian. 

311 MEYER'S KONVERSATIONS-LEXIKON. 6th ed., 1904, v. 3. Not Norse. 

312 MILLER, W. J. Notes concerning the Wampanoag Tribe of Indians, 1880, 
p. 119. 2nd ed., under title King Philip and the Wampanoags of R. I., 1885. 
No direct mention of Rock; but the one on Mount Hope Bay is Norse. 

313 MITCHILL, S. L. Discourse delivered Nov. 7, 1816. In Archaeologia 
Americana, 1820, i. 340. Disputes Mathieu's theory. See also no. 7. 

314 MOGK, E. Entdeckung Amerikas durch die Nordgermanen. In Mit- 
theilungen des Vereins fur Volkskunde zu Leipzig, 1892, pp. 57-89. Separate re- 
print, 1893. Not Norse; Indian. 

315 MOHAWK INDIANS, cited by Kendall in 1807, in Memoirs Amer. Acad. 
of Arts and Sciences, 1809, iii. 182. Interpretation of the inscription as an 
Indian record. 

316 MONTHLY REVIEW, 1788, Ixxix. 424. Review of Archaeologia, 1787, 
viii. Mention. 

317 MoosMiiLLER, P. O. Europaer in Amerika vor Columbus, 1879, pp. 130, 
138-143. English translation, 1911. Norse; follows Rafn's account. 

318 MOREAU DE DAMMARTIN. La Pierre de Taunston. In Journal de 
Tlnstitut Historique, 1838, ix. 145-154. Published also as an autotype litho- 
graph under the title: Explication de la Pierre de Taunston, Paris, n.d., 28 pp. 
Illus., no. lid; a second plate analyzing and explaining the same. An Egyp- 
tian representation of the celestial sphere. 

319 MORGAN, T. Old found lands in North America. In Trans. Royal 
Hist. Soc., 1874, N. S., iii. 75-97. Does not seem to be Scandinavian. 

320 MORSE, J., and R. C. New Universal Gazetteer, 3rd ed., 1821, p. 221. 
"No satisfactory account has been given." 

321 MOULTON, J. W. History of the State of New York. By J. V. N. Yatea 
and J. W. Moulton, 1824, vol. i. pt. i. pp. 84-86, 313. "Mr. Moulton is in fact 
the sole author of this scarce book" (Sabin, xii. 440). Inclined to believe it of 
Phoenician origin. 


322 MULHALL, M. McM. Explorers in the New World before and after 
Columbus and Story of Jesuit Missions of Paraguay, 1909, p. 4n. Mention. 

323 NADAILLAC, J. F. A. DU POUGET, Marquis de. L'Ame'rique pr6historique, 
1883, pp. 556 f. (For American edition of 1884, see Dall). Certainly not In- 
dian; Norse theory the most plausible explanation. 

324 NASON, E. Gazetteer of Mass., 1874; enlarged ed., 1890. 1st ed., 
pp. 78 f, 181; 2nd ed., pp. 142 f, 274. Illus., after no. 20. Probably Indian. 

325 NATION, THE, N. Y., 1882, xxxv. 178. Comment on Higginson's paper 
in Harper's Mag. Mention. 

326-327 NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER, Washington, Sept. 28, 1848, p. 3/2; 
Oct. 4, 1848, p. 3/1. Mention. 

328-329 NATIONAL QUARTERLY REVIEW, 1873, xxviii. 96. Discovery of 
America by the Northmen. Norse reading has been questioned. [329] 1876, 
xxxiii. 20. Pre-Columbian Discoveries of America. Doubtful. 

330 NEAL, D. History of N. Eng., 1720, ii. 593. 2nd ed., 1747. Quotation 
from Cotton Mather. 

331 NELSON'S LOOSE-LEAF ENCYCLOPAEDIA, 1907. Dighton Rock. Indian. 

332 NEUKOMM, E. Les Dompteurs de la Mer, 1895. Two translations: 
Rulers of the sea, Boston, 1896; and Tamers of the Sea, N. Y., 1897. 1896 ed., 
pp. 99-101. Illus., after no. 18b, p. 101. Norse; follows Rafn's account. 

333 NEW BEDFORD MERCURY, May, 1819. Notice on Rock, quoted in In- 
dependent Chronicle, May 19, 1819. Mention. 

334 NEWBURYPORT HERALD, May 4, 1819. Quoted in Independent Chron- 
icle, May 19, 1819. Mention. 

335 NEW INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA. 1st ed. 1902; 2nd ed. 1915. 

336 NEW YORK HIST. SOCIETY, Proceedings, Nov. 3, 1846: appointment of 
a committee consisting of H. R. Schoolcraft, M. S. Bidwell, and J. R. Bartlett, 
"to investigate the character and purport of the ancient pictorial inscription or 
symbolic figures of the (so-called) Dighton Rock." There is no record of a 
report by this committee: but see nos. 39, 400, 401. 

337 NEW YORK TIMES, 1890. See no. 6. 

338 NICHOLS, W. D. Berkley. In Kurd's History of Bristol County, Mass., 
1883, p. 181. Mention. 

NORRAENA SOCIETY. See nos. 11, 49. 

339 NORSEMEN MEMORIAL COMMITTEE, Boston, Jan. 12, 1877. Leaflet 
issued by the committee announcing its election Dec. 8, 1876, to take measures 
to erect a monument in honor of the Norsemen and for the protection of Dighton 
Rock, "a valuable historic relic of American Antiquity." 

340-341 OLD COLONY HIST. SOCIETY. Broadside on Dighton Rock, issued 
about 1882. Illus., after No. 29c. [341] Photograph, 1902, taken by A. L. 
Ward under direction of J. E. Seaver, sec. of the society. 

342 ONFFROY DE THORON, DON ENRIQUE, Vicomte. Les Pheniciens a 1'Ile 
d'Haiti et sur le Continent Ame>icain, 1889, pp. 37-48. Illus., after no. 18b, 
p. 40. Sepulchral monument of a Phoenician adventurer, about 330 B.C.; 
translation given. 

343-344 PADDACK, E. Ink-impression of part of the inscription, taken 
August, 1767, now in Amer. Acad. of Arts and Sciences. Also ms. letters de- 
scribing the same, Aug. 15, 1767, Jan. 7, 1768, in Stiles Collection, Yale Uni- 
versity Library. 


345 PALFREY, J. G. History of N. Eng., 1858, i. 56n. Probably Indian. 

346 PAYNE, E. J. History of the New World called America, 1892, i. 85. 
Not Norse; quite certain that it is Indian. 

347-349 PEABODY MUSEUM, Harvard University, Annual Reports: [347] i. 
22, 6th, 1873; [348] ii. 13, 13th, 1876; [349] iii. 15, 14th, 1880. Mention. 

350 PECK, J. T. History of the Great Republic considered from a Christian 
Stand-Point, 1868, p. 20. Norse; Rafn's localities accepted. 

351-353 PESCHEL, O. Geschichte des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen, 1858. 
2te Auflage, 1877, p. 82. Norse; follows Rafn. [352] Geschichte der Erd- 
kunde, 1865, p. 78. Bancroft's opinion. [353] Review of Gravier's Decou- 
verte de I'Ame'rique par les Normands. In Jenaer Literaturzeitung, 1874, no. 
17, April 25. Norse; follows Rafn; but mentions dissenting opinions without 

354 PETERS, A. Ed. note to Schoolcraft's Ante-Columbian Hist, of America. 
In American Biblical Repository, 1839, 2nd series, i. 441. Not Norse; Indian. 

355 PETERSEN, E. History of Rhode Island, 1853, pp. 174-178. Mention. 

356 PIDGEON, W. Traditions of De-Coo-Dah and Antiquarian Researches, 
1853, p. 20. Phoenician. 

357 PINTARD, J. Letter to J. Belknap, Aug. 26, 1789. In Belknap Papers 

1891, iii. 447. Mention. 

358 POOL, G. L. An Antiquity Discovered in the Valley of the Merrimack. 
In N. Eng. Hist. Gen. Register, 1854, viii. 185. Thinks it similar to Rock. 

359-360 POWER, L. G. Vinland. In Colls. Nova Scotia Hist. Soc., 1891, 
vii. 18. Not Norse. [360] The Whereabouts of Vinland. In N. Eng. Mag., 

1892, N. S., vii. 174. Mention. 

361-362 PROVIDENCE DAILY JOURNAL, Dec. 2, 1869. Editorial comment of 
Farnum's paper on visits of Northmen to R. I. Not Norse; mentions "the 
merited ridicule heaped on Dighton Rock and the Old Stone Mill." [362] July 
15, 1912. Account of the Dighton Bi-Centennial. Illus., after no. 35. 

363 PUTNAM'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE, 1854, iv. 467. First Discoverers of 
America. Norse. The Rock and the Newport Mill "are slowly and surely 
moulding public opinion to a favorable reception " of the Norse claims. 

364-369 RAFN, C. C. Antiquitates Americanse, 1837, pp. xxix-xl, historical 
Introduction; 355-396, Dighton Rock; 396-405, inscribed rocks in Rhode Island. 
Illus., no. 17b, Tab. X; nos. Id, 2a, 5c, lib, 12b, 15c, 16c, Tab. XI; nos. 14e, 
18b, Tab. XII. A record made in 1008 by Thorfinn and his 151 companions, 
original source of the Norse theory. [365] America discovered in the tenth 
Century, 1838." Mention. [366] Letter to D. Melville, Jan. 4, 1848. In 
Brooks's Controversy touching the Old Stone Mill, 1851, pp. 80 f ; and in Peter- 
sen's Hist, of R. I., 1853, p. 174. "We must be cautious in regard to the in- 
ferences to be drawn from ... the early monuments." [367-369] Letters to 
N. Arnzen concerning removal of Rock to Denmark, dated Aug. 16, 1859; Aug. 
30, Oct. 10, 1860; Sept. 3, 1861. In Arnzen's Report, Colls. Old Colony Hist. 
Soc., 1895, no. 5, p. 95. The Rock is "of high and pressing importance." 

370-371 RAU, C. Observations on the Dighton Ro'ck inscription. In Mag. 
of Amer. Hist., 1878, ii. 82-85. Reprinted in Amer. Antiquarian, 1878, i. 38, 
and in Kansas Review, ii. 168. Advises caution in accepting the Norse theory. 
[371] Dighton Rock inscription, an opinion of a Danish archaeologist. In Mag. 
of Amer. Hist., 1879, iii. 236-238. Worsaae's opinion: Indian, not Norse. 


372 RECLUS, fi. Nouvelle Geographic Universelle, 1890, xv. 12. Not Norse. 

373 REEVES, A. M. Finding of Wineland the Good, 1890, p. 97. Rafn's 
theories have fallen into disfavor. 

374 REMUSAT, J. P. A. Letter to Dr. Benj. B. Carter of New York, Feb. 4, 
1823. Ms., owned by Amer. Antiq. Soc. Indecipherable; doubtful if it has 
any letters or symbolic characters. 

375 RHODE ISLAND HIST. SOCIETY. Drawing by a committee of the Society, 
about Sept. 4, perfected Dec. 11, 1834. Published, with conjectural additions 
by Rafn, in Antiquitates Americanse, 1837. 

376-386 RHODE ISLAND HIST. SOCIETY. Ms. volumes entitled: Correspon- 
dence and Reports, vols. i and ii; Records, vol. i; Trustees' Records, vol. i. 
[376J In 1829, appointment of committee consisting of Richmond and Staples 
to answer letter from Rafn. [377] 1830, addition of Webb to committee; re- 
plies sent to Rafn. [378] 1831, Annual Report. [379] 1833, appointment of 
committee on the antiquities and aboriginal history of America, consisting of 
Webb, Bartlett, and Greene. [380] This committee in 1834 made new drawings 
of Rock and sent further communications to Rafn. [381] In 1835, further re- 
ports of committee, visits to other inscribed rocks, and letters to Rafn. [382- 
386] 1836-1841, Annual Reports mention Rock, measures for its preservation, 
importance of inscription rocks, and further correspondence with Denmark. 

387 RIDER, S. S. In Book Notes, 1892, ix. 254 f . Mention. 

388 RIVERO, M. E., and TSCHUDI, J. J. von. Peruvian Antiquities. Trans- 
lated by F. L. Hawkes, 1853, pp. 5, 21. Supposed to give confirmatory evi- 
dence of the visits of the Scandinavians. 

389 ROTTINGER, H. Entdeckung Amerikas durch die Normannen im 10. 
und 11. Jahrhundert, 1912, p. 18. "An indisputable proof of the presence of 
the Northmen in America." 

390 Roux DE ROCHELLE, J. B. G. fitats-Unis d'Amerique, 1853, pp. 161 f. 
Illus., no. 12b. Engraved by ancient American people, predecessors of Indians. 

391-392 ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON. Ms. Register-Book, June 15, 1732: 
Copy of Greenwood's letter to Eames. [392] Minutes, 1775. Abstract of John 
Winthrop's letter. 

Anniversary Meeting, 15th February, 1851. Mention. [394] Letter from 
J. J. A. Worsaae and three other officials to N. Arnzen, Feb. 22, 1877, express- 
ing opinion of society that figures on Rock are not Norse, but Indian. Owned 
by Old Col. Hist. Soc. 

395 RUGE, S t Entdeckungs-Geschichte der neuen Welt. In Hamburgische 
Festschrift zur Ermnerung an die Entdeckung Amerikas, 1892, i.^8 f. Not 
Norse; "mere Indian picture-scratchings." 

396 SANFORD, E. History of Berkley, Mass., 1872, pp. 59 f . Mention. 

397 SARGENT, P. E. Handbook of New England, 1916, p. 578. Indian. 
398-403 SCHOOLCRAFT, H. R. Ante-Columbian history of America. In 

Amer. Biblical Repository, 1839, i. 441 ff . Illus., after no. 17b, p. 440. Not 
Runic. Records an event manifestly of importance in Indian history. [399] In- 
centives to the study of the Ancient Period of American History. Address de- 
livered before the N. York Hist. Soc., 17th Nov. 1846 (1847), p. 10. "We are 
by no means sure" that the localities and monuments mentioned by Rafn ever 
had any connection with the Scandinavians. [400] Original drawing of the 


alleged Roman letters in the central part of the inscription, made in August, 
1847; published in no. 401. [401] History of the Indian Tribes, 1851, i. 106-120, 
125. Illus., no. 23 together with combination of 14e and 18b, Plate 36, p. 114; 
and an analytical Synopsis .of the inscription, Plate 37, p. 119. Central char- 
acters are Scandinavian. All the rest is Indian; Chingwauk's interpretation of 
it is given. [402] History of the Indian Tribes, 1854, iv. 119 f. Illus., no. 24, 
Plate 14, p. 120. "It is entirely Indian." [403] History of the Indian Tribes 
1860, vi. 113 f, 605, 609. An Indian record of battle between two tribes. 

404 SEAGER, E. Two india-ink drawings, made with assistance of C. R. 
Hale in 1864. Owned by Amer. Antiq. Soc. 

SEAVER, J. E. See no. 341. 

405 SEWALL, R. K. Ancient Voyages to the Western Continent, 1895, pp. 
12, 23. "Deighton Rock and Monhegan ... are 'possible footprints not of 
Northman visits alone but of Phoenician adventure here." 

406 SEWALL, SAMUEL. Letter-Book (1886), i. 116. Memorandum of Febr. 
24, 1691. Mention. 

407-409 SEWALL, STEPHEN. Author of drawing of Sept. 13, 1768. Owned 
by Peabody Museum. [408] Ms. letter to E. Stiles, Jan. 13, 1769. In Stiles 
Collection, Yale University Library. Indian; without significance. [409] 
Letter to Court de Gebelin, 1781, accompanying copy of his drawing. In Gebe- 
lin's Monde Primitif, 1781, viii. 58 f . 

410 SHAFFNER, T. P. History of the U. S. f n. d. [about 1862]. Norse. 

411 SHIPLEY, J. B., and M. A. English Rediscovery and Colonization of 
America, 1891, p. 7. No direct mention; but Vinland was Rhode Island and 
Massachusetts, and "traces of their long-continued presence have been found 
... in various parts of New England." 

412 SHORT, J. T. Claims to the discovery of America. In Galaxy, 1875, xx. 
517. Not Norse; Indian. 

413-415 SHOVE, G. A. Lithograph of Rock, 1864. Made also many other 
drawings and paintings of Rock, much resembling the lithograph. [414] Digh- 
ton. Chapter xix in Kurd's History of Bristol County, Mass., 1883, pp. 250 f . 
Illus., after no. 29c. Probably not Norse; little opposition to the Indian view. 
[415] Toast to "The South Purchase." In Quarter Millennial Celebration of 
Taunton, Mass., June 4 and 5, 1889. Mention. 

416 SIBLEY, J. L. Description of the restoration of the Sewall drawing in 
1860. Ms., attached to the original drawing, in the Peabody Museum. 

417-118 SINDING, P. C. History of Scandinavia, 1858. [418] Scandina- 
vian Races, 1876, p. 84. Norse; accepts Rafn's opinions. 

419-420 SLADE, E. Letters describing Rock, Dec. 17, 1875, March 13, 1876. 
In R. B. Anderson's America not discovered by Columbus, 2nd ed. 1877, p. 21, 
33. Not Indian. 

421 SLADE, W. A. King Philip Country. In N. Eng. Mag., 1898, xxiv. 609. 
Illus., after no. 29c, p. 606. Has some value as evidence for Norse visits. 

422-423 SLAFTER, E. F. Voyages of the Northmen to America (Prince 
Society), 1877, pp. 11, 132-134, 137, 140. There is left no trace of belief 
in Norse origin of Rock and Newport mill "in the minds of distinguished 
antiquaries and historians." [423] Discovery of America by the Northmen, 
985-1015. Discourse delivered before N. Hamp. Hist. Soc., April 24, 1888. 
Also read before Bostonian Society, Dec.- 10, 1889. In Proc. N. Hamp. Hist. Soc., 
ii; and hi Granite Monthly, 1890, xiii. 201 f . Separate reprint, 1891. Indian. 


424 SMIBERT, J. Drawing of Rock, about 1729, not now discoverable. 

425-426 SMITH, B. Paper on Rock. Abstract in Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., 
April 29, 1863, p. 31. Inscription by a Roman Catholic missionary, about 
1520. [426] Ms. letter to J. R. Bartlett, July 14, 1864. In Letter-Book of J. 
R. Bartlett, in John Carter Brown Library. 

427 SMITH, J. V. C. Letter on Rock and Fall River skeleton, June 15, 1842. 
In Me"moires de la Socie'te' Royale des Antiquaires du Nord, 1840-1844, p. 116. 

428 SMITH, JOHN. Ms. letter to E. Stiles, July 25, 1789, describing the mak- 
ing of the drawing by himself, Dr. Baylies and others. In Stiles Collection, Yale 
University Library. Queries if it may not be Asiatic. 

429 SMITH, JOSHUA T. Northmen in New England or America in the Tenth 
Century, Boston, 1839, pp. 310-328. London editions of 1839 and 1842 bear 
title: Discovery of America by the Northmen in the tenth century. An ex- 
position and defence in dialogue form of Rafn's opinions. 

430 SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF LONDON. Ms. Minutes, ii. 2; Nov. 9, 1732. 
Copy of Greenwood's letter to Eames. 

431 SPENCE, L. Myths of N. American Indians, 1914, p. 16. Not Norse; 

432 SPOFFORD, A. R. Library of Historic Characters and Famous Events. 
Edited by A. R. Spofford and Others, 1895, i. 108. Not Norse. 

433-434 SQUIER, E. G. Ms. letters to J. R. Bartlett, Nov. 7, 1846, Jan. 24, 
1847. In Letter-Book of J. R. Bartlett, in John Carter Brown Library. In- 
dian inscriptions resembling that of Dighton Rock. 

435 SQUIER, E. G., and DAVIS, E. H. Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi 
Valley. Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, 1847, i. 298, 300. Indian. 

436-437 SQUIER, E. G. Alleged Monumental Evidence of the Discovery of 
America by the Northmen, Critically Examined. In Brit. Ethnol. Journal, 
December, 1848. Reprinted in the National Intelligencer, March 27, 1849, 
p. 2/1-3. Not Norse. The conclusion is irresistible that this rock is a true 
Indian monument and has no extraordinary significance. [437] Ancient Monu- 
ments of the U. S. In Harper's Mag., 1860, xx. 738. Indian. 

438 STANDARD DICTIONARY. Ed. 1903, p. 2242, mention; ed. 1913, no mention. 

439 STARK, J. Antiquities of North America. In Amer. Monthly Mag., 

1836, N. S., i. 71; and in Amer. Mag. of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge, 

1837, iii. 433. No sufficient explanation yet given; believes it Phoenician. 
440-443 STILES, E. Drawings of Rock: June 6, July 15, 1767, in his Ms. 

Itinerary, ii. 273-283, in Yale University Library; [442] July 16, 1767, owned 
by Mass. Hist. Soc.; [443] Oct. 3, 1788, not preserved. 

444 STILES, E. Ms. letter to John Winthrop, June 15, 1767. In Stiles Col- 
lection, Yale University Library. Mention. 

445-448 STILES, E. Descriptions and drawings of Rock and other inscribed 
rocks, 1767, 1768, 1783, 1788, in his ms. Itineraries, in Stiles Collection, Yale 
University Library, ii. 245, 265 f, 272-315, 333, 345, 347, 351 f; iii. 600; iv. 251, 
254 f. 

449 STILES, E. Itineraries and Correspondence, 1916, p. 234. Visit to the 
Rock of June 5 and 6, 1767. 

450 STILES, E. The United States elevated to Glory and Honor. A Sermon, 
Preached May 8th, 1783, pp. 11 ff. Phoenician. 

451 STILES, E. Account of two Inscriptions upon Rocks in Kent and Wash- 


ington in the Western Part of the State of Connecticut, taken off 1789 by Ezra 
Stilea, and by him communicated to the Acad y of Arts & Sciences, June 8, 
1790. Ms. owned by Amer. Acad. of Arts and Sciences. Contains extended 
discussion of Dighton Rock as a Phoenician inscription. 

452-455 STILES, E. Literary Diary, 1901, [452] i. 20, 1782; [453] i. 72, 1783; 
[454] i. 330, 1788; [455] i. 402, 1790. Mention. 

456 STONE, E. M. Report of the Northern Department, Jan. 21, 1873. In 
Proc. R. I. Hist. Soc., 1872-3. Mention. 

457 SVEINSON, Dr. Cited by Fischer, in his Discoveries of the Norsemen in 
America, 1903, p. 43. Not Norse. 

458 SWEETSEB, M. F. New England, 1873, p. 39. Mention. 

459 SYLVESTER, H. M. Indian Wars of New England, 1910, i. 28-30, note. 
Not Indian; possibly Phoenician. "Its antiquity is more remote, possibly, 
than as yet has been accorded it." 

460 TAUNTON, Mass. Quarter Millennial Celebration of, June 4 and 5, 1889, 
pp. 141, opp. 179. 

461 TAUNTON DAILY GAZETTE, Jan. 11, 1902, p. 6/4. Sketches of Taunton 
History, second paper. Norse theory possible, but not proved. 

462 TAUNTON WHIG, Jan. 23, 1839, p. 2/3-5. Dighton Rock. Phoenician. 

463 TAYLOR, J. L. American Antiquities. In Bibliotheca Sacra, 1855, xii. 
460. Mention. 

464-465 THOMAS, C. Catalogue of Prehistoric Works East of the Rocky 
Mountains. Bureau of Amer. Ethnology, Bulletin 12, 1891. Does not in- 
clude Dighton Rock. [465] Dighton Rock. In Handbook of American Indiana 
North of Mexico, 1907, i. 390 f . Illus., after no. 33. Indian. 

466 TUCKER, C. R. Photograph, 1903. 


468 VAIL, E. A. Notice BUT les Indiens de l'Ame*rique du Nord, 1840, pp. 
36 f . Mention; quotes Jomard's opinion. 

469 VALLANCEY, C. Observations on the American Inscripton. Read Feb. 
9, 1786. In Archaeologia, 1787, viii.|302-3. Made by Tartars of Siberia. 

470 VETROMILE, E. Abnaki Indians. In Colls. Maine Hist. Soc., 1859, vi. 
223. Indian. 

471 VIGNAUD, H. Expeditions des Scandinaves en Ame'rique devant la 
critique. Un nouveau faux document. Extrait du Journal de la Socie'te dea 
Ame'ricanistes de Paris, nouvelle se'rie, 1910, vii. 21-24. Not Norse; Indian. 

WARD, A. L. See no. 341. 

472 WARDEN, D. B. Recherches sur les Antiquite's des Etats-Unis de 
1'Ame'rique septentrionale. In Recueil de Voyages et de Me'moires, public" par 
la SociSte de Geographic, 1825, ii. 375, 438 f, 505. Illus., no. 12b. Non- 

473 WASHINGTON, G. Remarks on seeing drawing by James Winthrop in 
Museum of Harvard College in Oct., 1789. Cited by J. Lathrop in letter to J. 
Davis, Aug. 10, 1809. In Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc., 1869, x. 114. Indian. 

474 WATSON, P. B. Bibliography of the pre-Columbian discoveries of 
America. In Library Journal, 1881, vi. 227-244. Reprinted in R. B. Anderson's 
America not discovered by Columbus, 3rd ed., 1883. Mention. 

475 WEBB, T. H. Authority for a daguerreotype made in 1840. In Ms. 
letters to J. Ordronaux, May 9 and 27, 1854, owned by Old Colony Hist. Soc. 


476-479 WEBB, T. H. Letters to Rafn. In Antiquitates Americanae. 
[476] Sept. 22, 1830, pp. 356-361; [477] Nov. 30, 1834, pp. 361-371; [478] Sept. 
14, 1835; pp. 397-399; [479] Oct. 31, 1835, pp. 400-404. 

480 WEBB, T. H. Letters to Christopher Dunkin, 1834, requesting copy of 
Sewall drawing. In ms. Correspondence and Reports, R. I. Hist. Soc., ii. 22, 25. 

481 WEBB, T. H. Ms. letter to J. R. Bartlett, Feb. 4, 1838. In Letter-Book 
of J. R. Bartlett, in John Carter Brown Library. 

482 WEBB, T. H. Ms. letter to J. Ordronaux, May 9 and 27, 1854. Owned 
by Old Colony Hist. Soc. Norse. 

483 WEBB, T. H. Communication on Rafn. In Proc, Mass. Hist. Soc., 1865, 
viii. 175-201. 

484 WEISE, A. J. Discoveries of America to the year 1525, 1884, p. 42. 
Not Norse. 

485 WESLAUFF, E. W., President R. S. N. A. Letter to R. I. Hist. Soc., May 
30, 1838. In ms. Records, Annual Report, July 19, 1838; and in ms. Correspond- 
ence and Reports, iii. 23. 

486 WEST, S. Collaborator in production of drawing of 1789. 

487 WHIPPLE, J. Cited by T. H. Webb, in letter to J. R. Bartlett, Feb. 4, 
1838. No inscription; marks due to natural processes only. 

488 WHITTLESEY, C. Rock Inscriptions in the United States. In Western 
Reserve Hist. Soc. Tracts, no. 42, March, 1878, p. 41. Indian. 

489 WILBUR, G. K. Colored Post Cards of Dighton Rock [1913], and Pro- 
spectus of Dighton Rock Park. Norse. 

490 WILDER, H. H. Petroglyph from Eastern Massachusetts. In Amer. 
Anthropologist, 1911, N. S., xiii. 65-67. Indian. 

491 WILHELMI, K. Island, Hvitramannaland, Gronland und Vinland oder 
der Normanner Leben auf Island und Gronland und dehren Fahrten nach Amerika 
echon iiber 500 Jahre vor Columbus, 1842, pp. 228-230. Norse; follows Rafn. 

492 WILLIAMS, H. S., editor. Historians History of the World, 1908, vol. 
xxii. pt. xxiii. bk. i. ch. i. p. 398. Indian. 

493^95 WILSON, Sir D. Prehistoric Man, 1862, ii. 172-178. Indian. 
[494] Vinland of the Northmen. In Proc. and Trans. Royal Soc. of Canada for 
1890, vol. viii. sect. ii. pp. 113 f, 116, 120. Not Norse. [495] Lost Atlantis 
and other Ethnographic Studies, 1892, pp. 46 f, 54, 61, 206. Not Norse; 

496 WINSOR, J. Pre-Columbian Explorations. In Narr. and Grit. Hist, of 
America, 1889, i. 101-104. Illus., no. 17b, p. 101; nos. Id, 2a, 5c, lib, 12b, 15c, 
16c, p. 103. Indian. 

497-498 WINTHROP, JAMES. Ink-impression of the inscription, reduced by 
pantograph, made Aug. 4, 1788. [498] Account of an inscribed rock, at Dighton, 
accompanied by a copy of the inscription's. In Memoirs Amer. Acad. of Arts 
and Sciences, 1804, vol. ii. pt. ii. pp. 126-129. Dated Nov. 10, 1788. Illus., no. 
12b. Description of Rock and of making the ink-impression. 

499-500 WINTHROP, JOHN. Imperfect drawing of the inscription, about 
1744, not preserved. [500] Letter to Timothy Hollis, spring of 1774, trans- 
mitting copy of Sewall's drawing. Quoted by M. Lort, in Archaeologia, 1787, 
viii . 295. Indian. 

501 WORCESTER, J. E. Geographical Dictionary or Universal Gazetteer, 
1817, i, under "Dighton." No satisfactory explanation. 




502 WORSAAE, J. J. A. Dighton Rock inscription, an opinion of a Danish 
archaeologist. In a letter to Rau, Nov. 1, 1878, in Mag. of Amer. History, 1879, 
iii. 236-238. Not Norse; Indian. See also no. 394. 

503 WTMAN, J. Remarks on Stone Implements of the Indians. In Proc. 
Boston Soc. of Nat. History, Dec. 2, 1868, 1868-69, xii. 218. Indian. 

YATES, J. V. N. See Moulton, J. W. 

504 YOUNG, G. M. Dighton Rock; compiled and written for the Peoria 
Scientific Association, October, 1890. In Peoria Journal. Inclines to Phoeni- 
cian theory. A photograph that he claims to have made in 1890 was a copy of 
no. 29c. 



1680: 110 

1809: 116 269 278 

1844: 206 244 276 

1690: 303 

1810: 259 

1845: 176 264 300 

1691: 406 

1812: 185 

1846: 39 234 336 399 

1703: 304 

1816: 309 313 


1712: 305 

1817: 7 501 

1847: 15 59 400 434 

1714: 306 308 

1819: 260 333 334 


1720: 330 

1820: 157 

1848: 68 150 153 252 

1721: 307 

1821: 320 

288 310 326 327 

1729: 424 

1823: 374 

366 436 

1730: 56 201 202 

1824: 142 321 

1849: 92 295 

1732: 203 391 430 

1825: 472 

1850: 96 104 223 286 

1744: 499 

1827: 21 

1851: 83 393 401 

1747: 136 

1829: 376 

1852: 4 58 279 

1766: 99 

1830: 45 377 476 

1853: 70 148 168 235 

1767: 343 440 441 442 

1831: 249 378 

245 355 356 388 

444 445 

1833: 379 


1768: 344 407 446 

1834: 38 145 217 375 

1854: 179 358 363 402 

1769: 408 
1774: 500 
1775: 392 
1781: 107 146 265 409 

1782: 25 452 

380 477 480 
1835: 381 478 479 
1836: 8 382 439 
1837: 16 111 215 296 

1855: 463 
1856: 225 
1857: 77 151 
1858: 208 231 274 345 

1783: 447 450 453 

364 383 

351 417 

1784: 51 236 237 

1838: 26 27 112 156 

1859: 147 367 470 

1786: 284 469 

158 171 172 174 

1860: 78 135 368 403 

1787: 191 

318 365 384 481 

416 437 

1788: 52 53 238 316 

485 487 

1861: 17 79 177 280 

443 448 454 497 

1839: 1 35 98 100 210 



233 354 385 398 

1862: 18 289 410 493 

1789: 46 47 48 54 193 

429 462 

1863: 226 425 

357 428 473 486 

1840: 31 36 178 180 

1864: 40 67 87 211 

1790: 155 285 451 455 

468 475 

227 299 404 413 

1796: 5 

1841: 32 49 71 93 143 


1798: 253 

262 386 

1865: 60 209 290 301 

1807: 55 221 267 268 

1842: 427 491 

352 483 


1843: 292 

1866: 141 160 


1867: 119 152 170 199 

1882: 164 246 247 266 

1900: 94 105 128 

1868: 75 89 120 121 

325 340 
1883: 239 283 291 323 

1901: 50 207 220 263 

200 350 503 
1869: 65 122 132 182 

338 414 
1884: 103 109 137 140 

1902: 166 251 335 341 

302 361 
1870: 72 219 
1871: 212 229 
1872: 30 106 123 256 

1885: 63 138 
1886: 76 188 
1887: 42 64 213 255 

1903: 22 81 189 205 
242 438 457 466 
1904: 3 24 29 250 311 
1905: 95 248 

1873: 41 117 175 186 
271 328 347 456 

1888: 19 101 195 423 
1889: 20 43 80 102 

1906: 281 
1907: 11 167 204 224 

OO1 A*1* 


218 342 415 460 

ool 465 

1874: 10 37 194 197 
282 319 324 353 
1875: 2 139 187 198 
222 240 412 419 
1876: 33 61 66 84 88 
273 277 287 329 
348 418 420 
1877: 162 163 339 394 

1890: 6 184 232 275 
337 372 373 494 
1891: 69 359 411 464 
1892: 108 144 169 183 
190 241 294 314 
346 360 387 395 

1908: 13 90 149 492 
1909: 243 270 322 
1910: 165 459 471 
1911: 154 490 
1912: 9 131 181 362 
1913: 28 489 
1914: 257 431 
1915: 85 91 124 192 

1878: 12 370 488 502 
1879: 317 371 
1880: 129 130 133 134 

1893: 44 113 298 
1894: 14 73 114 115 
1895: 405 432 
1896: 332 

1916: 62 86 196 214 
230 254 272 397 

159 312 349 
1881: 74 258 293 474 

1897: 34 97 118 
1898: 57 82 421 

1917: 23 125 216 
1918: 126 173 

1899: 161 

1919: 127 

9 7- 


Delabarre, Edmund Burke 
74 Recent history of Dighton